Creating a situation of fuss and alarm, US President Donald Trump on Saturday backtracked from quarantining New York despite floating the idea of introducing stringent measures a day earlier as the tally of coronavirus related infections rose over 52,000 and 728 deaths.
Trump appeared to abandon the proposal, on Saturday night, announcing on Twitter that, "A quarantine will not be necessary," after NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo compared the president's suggestion of quarantining the state and neighbouring region to "a declaration of war on states," New York Times reported.
Followingly, the president said that he would instead issue what he referred to as a "strong travel advisory."
In an interview with CNN, Cuomo expressed frustration and confusion over Trump's vague suggestion that he was considering somehow sealing off New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has the New York City area as its epicenter.
The idea, Cuomo said, was at odds with Trump's professed desire to restart the economy.
"You would paralyze the financial sector," the governor said.
Later Saturday night, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a formal advisory urging residents of the three states to "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately."
The advisory, however, does not apply to "employees of critical infrastructure industries," the agency said. That includes trucking, public health professionals, financial services and food supply workers.
According to NYT, Trump, earlier, speaking on the White House lawn, had said he was considering imposing what he called, without elaborating, an "enforceable" quarantine that would restrict travel in and out of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.
"Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it's a hot spot -- New York, New Jersey, one or two other places, certain parts of Connecticut, quarantined," Trump told reporters.
He added: "I'm thinking about that right now. We might not have to do it, but there is a possibility that sometime today we'll do a quarantine, short term, two weeks, on New York, probably New Jersey, certain parts of Connecticut," adding that he would "restrict travel."
Meanwhile, the NY governor said the state Department of Health had received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to start an antibody test to determine whether people have been infected with the virus and whether "they have an immunity to the antibodies." (ANI)