New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a news conference Wednesday that authorities will follow up with travelers coming into the city from the UK to ensure they are quarantining.
The measure comes in the wake of a new and fast-spreading coronavirus strain, which some officials said might already be in the US.
“Specifically those coming from the UK given that particular concern, we’re going to have sheriff’s deputies go to the home or the hotel of every single traveler coming in from the U.K,” Mayor de Blasio said.
Travelers who violate the mandatory quarantine order will be penalized and could receive a $1,000 fine, he said.
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New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio said authorities will go to the doors of those that are traveling from the United Kingdom to ensure that they are isolating in wake of the new rapid strain of coronavirus that is spreading rapidly in London.
“For folks coming in from the United Kingdom, we will have a new approach given this new strain that we’re seeing there,” Mayor de Blasio said in a press conference on Wednesday. “Effective immediately all travelers, literally every single traveler coming in from the United Kingdom, will receive a Department of Health Commissioner’s Order directing them to quarantine.”
In addition, de Blasio said the quarantine order would be applied to all travelers, not just those arriving from the United Kingdom. According to the New York state COVID-19 travel advisory, travelers who were out-of-state for more than 24 hours must get tested for coronavirus three days prior to their arrival and then quarantine for at least three days once they’ve arrived in New York. On the fourth day of their quarantine, the traveler has to get tested again and if both tests come back negative, “the traveler may exit quarantine early upon receipt of the second negative diagnostic test.”
“But specifically for folks coming in from the UK given that particular concern,” de Blasio said Wednesday, “we’re going to have sheriff’s deputies go to the home or the hotel of every single traveler coming in from the UK.”
The order comes after a new highly transmissible strain of coronavirus that could be up to 70% more transmissible than previous variants was discovered in the UK. The new strain has prompted a wave of lockdown measures and border closures. A growing number of countries including Italy, France, Ireland, and Germany have restricted travel from the UK while the US has not.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he “would not be surprised” if the strain has already hit the United States earlier this week.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday said New York state health officials are requesting hospitals test for the new strain.
“Chances are, if it’s been moving globally, it came here,” Cuomo said, as reported by the Wall Street Journal. “If it’s here we want to know it-we want to isolate it immediately.”
Travelers to New York City from the UK who violate the mandatory quarantine order will be fined, de Blasio said.
“To everyone… if you don’t comply with the quarantine that’s a $1,000 fine to begin. If you continue not to comply with the quarantine it’s $1,000 for each additional day,” de Blasio said.
According to John Hopkins University, there have been 866,765 cases and 36,724 COVID-19 deaths in New York since the start of the pandemic.
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