Trump backs off from quarantine of New York area, issues travel advisory: Report

With COVID-19 hitting the New York area hard, President Donald Trump floated the idea on Saturday of imposing a quarantine on residents of the New York–New Jersey–Connecticut tri-state region.

But by Saturday evening, the president put an end to the prospect, announcing that he would not impose a quarantine, but rather, would instruct the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a 14-day travel advisory for the area, The Daily Caller reported.

“Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hotspot — New York, New Jersey maybe one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut quarantined. I’m thinking about that right now,” Trump had told reporters earlier Saturday, according to the Daily Caller. He went on:

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, certain parts of Connecticut.

“We may need it”

Trump also announced that he was “giving consideration” to the idea in a Saturday tweet. “A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly,” he wrote.

According to Trump, such a quarantine would have served to “restrict travel.”

“Because they’re having problems down in Florida. A lot of New Yorkers are going down. We don’t want that,” Trump told reporters Saturday, according to a transcript provided by the White House.

“This would be an enforceable quarantine,” the president added. “And, you know, I’d rather not do it, but we may need it.”

Asked by reporters later to clarify his remarks, Trump said his administration was “looking at the possibility” and would soon announce a decision. “A lot of the states that aren’t infected, that don’t have a big problem, they’ve asked me if I’d look at it. So we’re going to look at it. And it will be for a short period of time, if we do it at all,” he said, according to a White House transcript.

Restricting travel

Of course, even the mere proposal of a quarantine by Trump caused an outcry from Democrats and the media — despite calls from just days earlier for a complete nationwide lockdown. Perhaps all of the criticism reached the White House, however; according to NPR, Trump announced via Twitter on Saturday evening that he wouldn’t be imposing a quarantine, but would simply have the CDC recommend against unnecessary travel.

Accordingly, the CDC issued a press release urging “residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.” The release noted that “critical infrastructure industries” — such as food supply, financial services, public health, and trucking, among others — would be exempted from the travel advisory.

The U.S. now has over 140,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. Hopefully, this measure from the CDC will help contain further spread of the deadly disease.

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