President Trump backed away from calling for a quarantine for coronavirus hotspots in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, instead directing Saturday night that a “strong Travel Advisory” be issued to stem the outbreak. Vice President Mike Pence tweeted that the CDC was urging residents of the three states “to refrain from non-essential travel for the next 14 days.” The quarantine had been advocated by governors, including Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who sought to halt travelers from the heavily affected areas to their states. But it drew swift criticism from leaders of the states in question, who warned it would spark panic in an already suffering populace. Trump said he had directed the CDC "to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the Federal Government.” He added, per the AP: “A quarantine will not be necessary.”
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said roping off states would amount to “a federal declaration of war. If you start walling off areas all across the country, it would be totally bizarre, counterproductive, anti-American, anti-social.” Cuomo added that locking down the nation’s financial capital would “paralyze the economy.” The federal government is empowered to take measures to prevent the spread of communicable diseases between states, but it's not clear that means Trump can ban people from leaving their state. It has never been tested in the modern era. “It is entirely unprecedented that governors or the president would prevent people from traveling from one state to another during an infectious disease outbreak," says a Georgetown law professor. Trump said the idea of isolating many in the trio of Democratic strongholds in the Northeast was pushed by DeSantis. Trump said people “go to Florida and a lot of people don’t want that."
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