10/27/2014 10:57 am ET Updated Oct 27, 2014

UN Ebola Chief: Quarantine Decisions Must Be Based On Science, Not Hysteria

ACCRA, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Governments must avoid doing anything to deter desperately needed health workers from coming to West Africa to fight Ebola, the head of the U.N. mission battling the virus said on Monday, adding that quarantine decisions must not be based on hysteria.

The U.S. states of New York, New Jersey and Illinois have issued new quarantine rules for people returning from West Africa in response to fears that U.S. federal guidelines do not go far enough to contain an outbreak centered in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone that has infected 10,000 people.

A nurse who was quarantined after returning from Sierra Leone criticized her isolation on Sunday and said she posed no health threat.

"Decisions (on quarantine) should be based on science and fact and not hype and hysteria and decisions should be taken in a way that will promote the most rapid, effective response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa possible," Anthony Banbury, head of the U.N. Ebola Emergency Response Mission (UNMEER), told Reuters.

"Anything that will dissuade foreign trained personnel from coming here to West Africa and joining us on the frontline to fight the fight would be very, very unfortunate," he said in an interview.

Banbury said the mission's top need is for hundreds of foreign healthcare workers. The East African Community has offered 600 workers while Ethiopia has offered 200. (Reporting by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Daniel Flynn)