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President Trump on Saturday said he is considering imposing an enforceable quarantine on New York, parts of New Jersey and parts of Connecticut as part of the efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“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,” he said outside the White House.
“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 certain parts of Connecticut.”
He said that if such a move happened, it would be primarily a restriction on residents of those states traveling to other parts of the country. He later said that, if enacted, it would not affect truckers or trade.
He said that he had spoken to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and said there was a problem with people from New York traveling down to Florida: “We don’t want that.”
“This will be an enforceable quarantine, but hopefully we won’t need it,” he said.
The move would be a dramatic escalation of the efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus, and comes on the back of those states essentially shuttering daily life — closing schools, businesses, leisure activities and urging residents to stay at home.
Cuomo, who was holding a press conference at the same time as when Trump made his remarks to the press, expressed confusion at Trump’s proposal — saying he had spoken to him about a hospital ship and opening up emergency medical sites, but not a statewide quarantine.
“I spoke to the president about the ship coming up and the four sites, I didn’t speak to him about any quarantine,” Cuomo said. “I haven’t had those conversations, I don’t even know what that means.”
“I don’t even know what that means. 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 said. “But I can tell you I don’t even like the sound of it, not even understanding what it is I don’t like the sound of it.”
Trump told reporters that if he did go forward with the quarantine, it would be for a short time only, maybe as little as 14 days.
Trump has expressed the desire to re-open the country and get the U.S. back on a normal footing after weeks of measures to stop the virus, but has also noted that there are “hotspots” that have particularly large cases of the virus.
He has placed travel restrictions on other countries, including China, Iran and the European Union. The administration has also restricted non-essential travel at the land borders with Canada and Mexico, but this would be the first such travel restriction within the U.S.
Fox News’ Tyler Olson and Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.