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President Donald Trump on Saturday said he is considering an “enforceable” quarantine on New York state, as well as parts of New Jersey and Connecticut.
“We’d like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hot spot — New York, New Jersey, maybe one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut quarantined. I’m thinking about that right now. We might not have to do it but there’s a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine — short term two weeks for New York, probably New Jersey and parts of Connecticut,” Trump said.
“This will be an enforceable quarantine, but hopefully we won’t need it,” he said.
“We’re looking at it and we’ll be making a decision,” the president said at Andrews Air Force Base before departing for Virginia to send off a hospital ship. “It will be for a short time if we do it at all.”
Asked if that quarantine would include shutting down New York City’s subway, the major mode of transport for many city dwellers, Trump said, “No we wouldn’t do that.”
The president also dismissed the notion that he would deploy the National Guard to enforce quarantine rules. ‘We’re not going to need that,’ he said.
At a news conference Saturday afternoon, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said he didn’t know about the president’s thoughts on quarantining the state.
“I didn’t speak to him about any quarantine,” he said. “I don’t know how that could be legally enforceable, and from a medical point of view, I don’t know what you would be accomplishing,” he added. “Not even understanding what it is, I don’t like the sound of it.”
The governor said the number of confirmed cases in the state now stands at 52,318, including 29,766 in New York City. A total of 728 people in the state have died, Cuomo said.
Cuomo also announced that the best estimate for the peak number of COVID-19 cases in New York is still 14 to 21 days away.
The enforceable quarantine would apply for people leaving New York, Trump said. Over the last week, thousands of New Yorkers have left the state, the hottest spot in the country for the spread of SARS-CoV-2. One photo making the rounds showed private planes stacked up to take off.
“Restrict travel because they are having problems down in Florida. A lot of New Yorkers going down, we don’t want that,” Trump told reporters.
On Friday, Trump supported the actions of governors to crack down on travelers from states hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, like Washington and New York.
“We are very strong on people not leaving, especially certain states, and going to other states where they have less of a problem,” Trump said at his daily press conference. “You are hearing constantly about people leaving New York and going down to Florida, and New York is obviously a hotspot.”
On Friday, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo ordered state police to stop vehicles with New York license plates and to enforce a 14-day quarantine of anyone who entered the state from New York.