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NY imposes quarantine, fines up to $10,000 for travelers from coronavirus hotspots

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced a joint incoming travel advisory Wednesday with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy Gov. Ned Lamont of Connecticut, imposing a two-week quarantine on anyone coming from states that are currently coronavirus hotspots.

The quarantine order that went into effect on Thursday applies to any person coming from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah or any other state where there is a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average.

“In New York we went from the highest number of cases to some of the lowest rates in the country — no one else had to bend the curve as much as we did and now we have to make sure that the rate continues to drop in our entire region,” Cuomo said. “We’ve been working with our neighbors in New Jersey and Connecticut throughout this entire pandemic, and we’re announcing a joint travel advisory that says people coming in from states with a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days. We’ve worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down and we don’t want to see it go up again because people are traveling into the state and bringing it with them.”

While there is no enforcement mechanism in place yet, individuals who fail to quarantine in New York could be “subject to a judicial order and mandatory quarantine.” A first violation of the order could result in a $2,000 fine and could go up to $10,000 for subsequent violations.

“Working together as a region has proven to be immensely successful as our respective states are leading the country when it comes to our response with low infection and positivity rates relative to increased testing capacity,” Lamont said. “We have made difficult decisions throughout this pandemic, but we have proven to make many of the right decisions. This step to inform travelers form states with hot spots to self-isolate is meant to protect our residents and maintain our incredible public health progress.”

In a call with reporters Thursday, Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said the agency does not have any data showing that quarantines for travelers work.

“I don’t think we have any clear evidence right now,” he said. “The individual states are making their individual decisions. … We don’t have any evidence-based data to support the public health value of that decision.”

Redfield further noted that an estimated 25 million people in the U.S. or 10 times more the current figure of confirmed cases may have been infected by the coronavirus.

“This virus causes so much asymptomatic infection,” Redfield said. “We probably recognized about 10 percent of the outbreak.”

As of Thursday morning, Johns Hopkins University confirmed nearly 9.5 million coronavirus infections globally with more than 483,000 deaths. The United States alone has contributed nearly 2.4 million infections to that number with nearly 122,000 deaths.

“This outbreak is not over. This pandemic is not over. The most powerful tool that we have, powerful weapon, is social distancing,” Redfield said. “We have [a] responsibility to practice the social mitigation strategies to protect the vulnerable, to protect the elderly.”

Redfield’s comments Thursday come in the wake of news that the U.S. reported more new coronavirus cases on Wednesday than on any single day before, according to a tally by NBC News.

Cases showed increases of 5% or more in 31 states across the country, including Florida, Arizona, Texas, Montana and Idaho, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. Coronavirus hospitalizations are also on the rise.

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