President Donald Trump said Saturday that he’s considering placing a short-term quarantine on New York, New Jersey and certain parts of Connecticut as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread. “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,” Trump told reporters at the White House Saturday. “Short-term, two weeks on New York, probably New Jersey and certain parts of Connecticut.” Trump said he would make a decision today whether to enforce a quarantine. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he spoke with Trump Saturday morning but didn’t discuss a potential quarantine on the state. “I spoke to the president about the ship coming up and the four sites, I didn’t speak to him about any quarantine. No, I haven’t had those conversations,” Cuomo said. –CNBC
UPDATED: TRUMP BACKS OFF QUARANTINE IDEA FOR NY: President Donald Trump announced Saturday that he would not be quarantining New York City’s metro area, which has emerged as the nation’s largest hot spot for the coronavirus, after floating the idea earlier in the day. “On the recommendation of the White House CoronaVirus Task Force, and upon consultation with the Governor’s of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, I have asked the @CDCgov to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the ….Federal Government,” Trump tweeted. “A quarantine will not be necessary.” –Politico
Security Check points: Rhode Island police began stopping cars with New York plates Friday. On Saturday, the National Guard will help them conduct house-to-house searches to find people who traveled from New York and demand 14 days of self-quarantine. “Right now, we have a pinpointed risk,” Governor Gina Raimondo said. “That risk is called New York City.” New York is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., on Friday reporting a total of 44,000 cases. Rhode Island has just over 200, and it has begun an aggressive campaign to keep the virus out and New Yorkers contained, over objections from civil liberties advocates.
Raimondo, a Democrat, said she had consulted lawyers and said while she couldn’t close the border, she felt confident she could enforce a quarantine. Many New Yorkers have summer houses in Rhode Island, especially in tony Newport, and the governor said the authorities would be checking there. “Yesterday I announced and today I reiterated: Anyone coming to Rhode Island in any way from New York must be quarantined,” the governor said. “By order. Will be enforced. Enforceable by law.” Raimondo signed an executive order Thursday that applies to anyone who has been in New York during the past two weeks and through at least April 25. It doesn’t apply to public health, public safety, or health-care workers.
National Guard members will be stationed at the T.F. Green airport, Amtrak train stations and at bus stops. The citizen-soldiers will be following up with people at local residences. The maximum penalty for not complying: a fine of $500 and 90 days in prison. The local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union blasted the new rules, objecting to the collection of motorists’ contact information in particular. “While the Governor may have the power to suspend some state laws and regulations to address this medical emergency, she cannot suspend the Constitution,” Rhode Island ACLU executive director Steven Brown said in a statement. “Under the Fourth Amendment, having a New York state license plate simply does not, and cannot, constitute ‘probable cause’ to allow police to stop a car and interrogate the driver, no matter how laudable the goal of the stop may be.” –Yahoo News
Surreal scenes from the world’s empty cities – it’s as if almost everyone on Earth vanished
Deaths in the U.S. double in 48 hours: Confirmed U.S. coronavirus-related deaths doubled in two days, hitting 2,000 on Saturday evening, based on reporting from state health departments. It took about a month from the first confirmed death for the United States to record 1,000, but the toll has risen rapidly, and officials say the worst is yet to come. Meanwhile, President Trump said Saturday he may announce later in the day a federally mandated quarantine on the New York metro region, placing “enforceable” travel restrictions on people planning to leave the New York tri-state area because of the coronavirus outbreak. –Washington Post
Arrests in Hawaii for quarantine violations: Honolulu police have issued 70 citations and made two arrests for violating the stay-at-home orders put in place to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus, with most of those people cited in public parks after ignoring officers’ instructions to leave, according to a police spokeswoman. Arrests were made at a park in Waipahu and another in Kaneohe, and Hawaii County police also reported arresting and charging a Kailua-Kona woman early today for violating the state stay-at-home order. Violating the order is a misdemeanor offense punishable by fines of up to $5,000 and a year in jail.
The Kauai Police Department planned to establish checkpoints around that island starting this morning to enforce the stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. David Ige and Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami. “It is urgent that our community respond to this pandemic and comply with these orders,” said Kauai Police Chief Todd Raybuck said in a written announcement of the Kauai checkpoints. “If this isn’t taken seriously, our small island’s healthcare system will not be able to withstand community spread of the virus. Please, stay at home and do your part for the wellbeing of our community.” –Star Advertiser