Quarantine them!

I’m pretty surprised that the Japanese government can’t force individuals to undergo tests, let alone be quarantined, after evacuating them from Wuhan:

Two Japanese citizens evacuated from Wuhan who refused to undergo tests for the new coronavirus have set off a political quandary in Japan over the evacuation mission, with debate centred on how the human rights of a minority should not supersede a potential health menace to society.

The two, who were among 206 nationals on Japan’s first chartered flight out of the epicentre of the 2019-nCOV outbreak which landed at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on Wednesday, had displayed no symptoms at the airport and were “escorted home” after refusing to undergo further tests. Their actions came as three new cases of the virus were identified from the evacuees.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had to step in to calm nerves on Thursday (Jan 30).

“While quarantine officers did their best to persuade them to go for further tests, they refused, and unfortunately there is no legal basis to force them to do so,” Mr Abe told the Diet, as Japan’s Parliament is known. “There are some areas that the government is reluctant to forcefully step in because it encroaches on human rights. But from the second flight we should see how we can properly confirm the health status of all evacuees.” (…)

While the new Wuhan virus has been named a “designated infectious disease” in Japan under a special law, it only allows the authorities to make compulsory the hospitalisation of confirmed patients.

I don’t believe that argument would fly in, say, China.

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