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Trump's NY quarantine suggestion would be 'federal declaration of war': NY Gov Cuomo

Trumps NY quarantine suggestion would be federal declaration of war: NY Gov Cuomo

New York: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said that US President Donald Trump's suggestion of a quarantine for the tri-state area would be a "federal declaration of war", resulting in "chaos and mayhem", even as the coronavirus cases continue to rise in the country.

Cuomo's remarks came hours after Trump said he was thinking of imposing a short-term quarantine of "hot spots" in parts of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, surprising the governors of the three states.

Later, Trump backtracked from the proposal and said he would instead issue what he referred to as a "strong travel advisory".

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an advisory urging residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut states to "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately".

Speaking to CNN on Saturday, Cuomo said he did not believe that a possible New York quarantine was legal and that it would be a "federal declaration of war" after Trump suggested he was considering such a measure for the New York metro area as US coronavirus cases increase rapidly.

"It would be a chaos and mayhem. It's totally opposite everything he's been saying. I don't think it is plausible. I don't think it is legal," he said.

Meanwhile, New York joined the list of states that have postponed their primaries due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has significantly altered the daily lives of Americans.

Cuomo postponed New York's presidential primary from April to June.

New York moved its primary from April 28 to June 23, he said.

"I don't think it's wise to be bringing a lot of people to one location to vote," Cuomo said during a news conference.

More than 52,000 of America's over 113,000 coronavirus cases have been reported in the New York state alone and projections are that the apex of the pandemic in the region is still 14 to 21 days away.

Cuomo said he does not think Trump is looking to start a war with states.

Trump, while departing the White House for Norfolk Naval Station to send off a Navy hospital ship to New York, told reporters: "We're thinking about certain things. Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it's a hotspot... We might not have to do it, but there's a possibility that sometime today we'll do a quarantine, short-term, two weeks on New York. Probably New Jersey, certain parts of Connecticut".

"I'd rather not do it, but we may need it," Trump said and later tweeted that a "decision will be made, one way or another, shortly".

Cuomo noted that a tri-state quarantine would dramatically affect the national economy, saying, "I think it would paralyse the economy".

"I think it would shock the economic markets in a way that we have never seen before. I am not going to close off my borders. Trucks have to come in, food has to come in, mail has to come in," the New York governor said.

Cuomo added that he thought Trump's proposal is more of a "lockdown" than a quarantine, similar to what happened in China's Wuhan at the outset of the virus' outbreak.

The death toll in the New York state has reached 728 and the total number of COVID-19 cases stood at more than 52,000. More than 7,300 people are currently hospitalised.

The New York Times said that on Saturday night, New York City officials reported a sharp jump in deaths from Friday night, saying that 222 people have died in that 24-hour window. The city also reported that the number of confirmed infections had risen to more than 30,000.

The USNS Comfort, a Navy ship with medical personnel and 1,000 beds, is on its way to New York from Virginia and is set to arrive on Monday.

"We'll use this to backfill and take pressure off a hospital," Cuomo added.

(Image from abc13.com)

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