A Cairns nurse faces another ten day wait to be sure she is free of the Ebola virus.

Initial tests came back negative but the disease can take up to three weeks to incubate.

The health scare has prompted demands by controversial MP Bob Katter for tougher quarantine measures.

Joseph Cooney reports.


Bob Katter is known for speaking his mind and he criticised the way authorities handled the case of volunteer nurse, Sue-Ellen Kovack, who admitted herself for Ebola tests yesterday.

She recently returned from West Africa.

He described Australian volunteers in West Africa as “saints” and “heroes”, but said they should face a compulsory isolation on their return.

Bob Katter, North Queensland MP: “There’s a lady up here that could’ve had Ebola! And you’re telling me that is acceptable?”

The MP says she shouldn’t have been allowed to simply quarantine herself.

Bob Katter, North Queensland MP: “They would just say, ‘You can come back in, oh, and would you stay at home please?’ I mean, that’s the protocol! You can come in, go anywhere you like, but when you get home, stay there please.”

Health officials breathed a sign of relief, as the first tests returned the news everyone was hoping for the nurse doesn’t have signs of Ebola at the moment.

Ms Kovack isn’t commenting.

The wait will continue before the nurse is given the all-clear and finally released.

The Red Cross volunteer will stay in hospital for the time being, as she awaits further tests.

Dr Jeannette Young, Chief Health Officer: “She’s not clear until 21 days from when she was last exposed, and that was on the 30th of September. So she’s now at day 10 of that incubation period, so we’ll be keeping a very close eye on her.”

Ms Kovack’s actions since returning from the Ebola-effected region were heralded by officials.

Lawrence Springborg, Qld Health Minister: “She has been extremely responsible and followed all the precautionary guidelines.”

But Bob Katter reiterated more should have been done.

Joseph Cooney, QUT News.