President Donald Trump said his administration could announce a large-scale two-week quarantine of New York and the surrounding area later Saturday.
“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, certain parts of Connecticut,” Trump told reporters outside the White House Saturday afternoon.
The measure would be “an enforceable quarantine,” Trump said, adding that he’d “rather not do it, but we may need it” to restrict people traveling from New York to other states.
“They’re having problems down in Florida. A lot of New Yorkers are going down — we don’t want that,” Trump said, adding that he had just spoken with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Trump said he plans to speak with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo later Saturday. The White House is not currently considering shutting down the New York City subway, he said.
Cuomo seemed surprised when asked about the statement during his daily coronavirus briefing in New York, telling reporters he had not discussed a potential quarantine with the White House.
“I don’t even know what that means,” Cuomo said, adding that he doesn’t “like the sound of it.”
Federal law gives the president vast emergency powers in a pandemic, including the ability to quarantine people to slow the spread of disease between states.
Trump spoke with reporters as he left the White House for Norfolk, Va., where he will deliver remarks at the Naval Station Norfolk send-off for the USNS Comfort this afternoon.
He was accompanied by incoming chief of staff Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Defense Secretary Mark Esper, senior adviser Kellyanne Conway and social media director Dan Scavino.