President Trump said he is considering an “enforceable quarantine” in New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut and may make a decision as soon as later Saturday, as the nation’s largest city quickly becomes an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We might not have to do it, but there’s a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine,” Mr. Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington just before he boarded Air Force One for Norfolk, Va., where he plans to see off a Navy hospital ship that is heading to New York. He said the quarantine could last around two weeks.
The president didn’t specify what a quarantine would entail, but said it could include restrictions on travel from New York and New Jersey. New York City alone has more than 23,000 cases, nearly a quarter of all the cases in the country.
However, shortly after Trump floated the possibility of a quarantine for the New York region, Gov. Andrew Cuomo dismissed the idea, calling it “unworkable.”
“I don’t even know what that means,” the governor said of a potential quarantine of New York. “I don’t know how that could be legally enforceable. From a medical point of view, I don’t know what you would be accomplishing. I don’t even like the sound of it.”
The largest number of cases continues to be in the state of New York, where 52,318 people are infected and 728 had died from the virus as of Saturday, Cuomo said during a morning briefing.
Cuomo has already ordered all nonessential businesses in the state to close and has said residents should stay home, calling it the “most drastic action we can take” when he announced the measures last week.
Essential services like hospitals, grocery stores and pharmacies remain open under the order, and residents can still go outside for exercise and to obtain groceries.
Trump, speaking in Norfolk, Va., later Saturday, clarified that any restrictions wouldn’t apply to “people such as truckers from outside the New York area who are making deliveries or simply transiting through.” He also said the measures wouldn’t affect trade “in any way.”
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