March 29, 2020 10:09:42
United States President Donald Trump says he might prohibit travel in and out of the New York area to limit the spread of the coronavirus from its US epicentre.
Mr Trump said he might impose a quarantine on New York, parts of New Jersey and Connecticut The US has recorded more than 115,00 cases, the highest tally in the world and New York is the epicentreAmerican healthcare workers are appealing for more protective gear and equipment as a surge in patients pushes hospitals to their limits
With the number of known cases soaring past 115,000 in the United States, the highest tally in the world, Mr Trump said he might impose a quarantine on New York, and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut to protect other states that have yet to bear the brunt.
“They’re having problems down in Florida. A lot of New Yorkers are going down. We don’t want that,” Mr Trump said.
Since the virus first appeared in the US in late January, Mr Trump has held differing positions between playing down the risks of infection and urging Americans to take steps to slow its spread.
Mr Trump has also been reluctant to invoke emergency powers to order US companies to produce much-needed medical supplies, despite the pleas of governors and hospital workers.
He also appeared to soften his previous comments calling for the US economy to be reopened by mid-April.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said.
Donald Trump Tweet: I am giving consideration to a QUARANTINE of developing “hot spots”, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly.
It was not clear whether Mr Trump would be able to block road, air and sea travel out of a region that serves as the economic engine of the eastern United States, accounting for 10 per cent of the population and 12 per cent of GDP.
NY Governor questions legality of order
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he had no details on a possible quarantine order.
“I don’t even know what that means. I don’t know how that would be legally enforceable, and from a medical point of view, I don’t know what you would be accomplishing,” Mr Cuomo said.
“I don’t even like the sound of it.”
Stay up-to-date on the coronavirus outbreak
Some states have already imposed limits on interstate travel.
New Yorkers arriving in Florida and Rhode Island face orders to self-isolate if they intend to stay, and West Virginia Governor Jim Justice asked New Yorkers to avoid citizens in his state.
Your questions on coronavirus answered:
NY lockdown may be too late to be effective
Mr Trump said any New York-area lockdown would only apply to people leaving the region.
It would not cover truck drivers making deliveries or driving through the area, he said.
US courts would likely uphold a presidentially imposed quarantine, but Mr Trump would not be able to enlist local police to enforce it, said Louisiana State University law professor Edward Richards.
“The logistics of deciding who is an essential person or essential cargo could shut down the ability to transport essential personnel and supplies,” he said.
Even if it were possible, a New York-area lockdown might come too late for the rest of the country.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Southern California was on track to match New York City’s infection figures in the next week.
In New Orleans, where Mardi Gras celebrations late last month fuelled an outbreak, the number of coronavirus patients “have been staggering,” said Sophia Thomas, a nurse practitioner at DePaul Community Health Centre.
American healthcare workers have appealed for more protective gear and equipment as a surge in patients pushes hospitals to their limits.
Doctors are also especially concerned about a shortage of ventilators, machines that help patients breathe and are widely needed for those suffering from COVID-19.
Hospitals have also sounded the alarm about scarcities of drugs, oxygen tanks and trained staff.
March 29, 2020 09:50:37