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NYC sets up checkpoints to intercept travellers who need to quarantine

The Independent logo The Independent 05/08/2020 Oliver O'Connell
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New York City is setting up coronavirus quarantine checkpoints on major routes into the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in his morning briefing.

Beginning on Wednesday, the checkpoints, situated at “key entry points” along main bridges and tunnels into the city, will monitor for travellers coming from the 35 states with the worst coronavirus outbreaks. According to state law they must quarantine for 14 days.

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Sheriff’s officers and other law enforcement agencies will be deployed at the checkpoints to stop vehicles at random, as well as by assessing their state on the licence plate. They will also be positioned at Penn Station to meet rail passengers.

“Travellers coming in from those states will be given information about the quarantine, they will be reminded that it is required, not optional,” the mayor said.

“They’ll be reminded that failure to quarantine is a violation of state law and it comes with serious penalties.”

Mr de Blasio highlighted the city’s success in keeping the Covid-19 infection rate under three per cent for two months, and under 1.5 per cent for one month.

One fifth of all new coronavirus cases in New York City are due to travellers according to Dr Ted Long, head of the city’s Test and Trace Corps.

Those entering the city will now be subject to calls, texts and visits while they self-quarantine. The city will also provide food deliveries, telehealth services and any necessary medication for the two week period. The city will also include hotel accommodation if needed.

“We want you to come into New York City, but we need you to safely separate for two weeks when you arrive to keep New York City safe,” Dr Long said.

Quarantine rules apply to both visitors from out of state and New York residents returning from states on the lists determined by the governor’s office.

Enforcement teams are already in place at airports, with incoming passengers made to fill out a traveller form.

Those who violate the rules are subject to fines ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.

A total of 35 states meet the criteria for quarantine as stipulated by New York state.

New York state was the epicentre of the US coronavirus outbreak in March and April, but has since managed to curb infections and deaths from the virus.

In total, the state has had 422,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and recorded 32,422 official deaths. Just over half the cases, and two-thirds of the deaths were in the five boroughs of New York City.

The city has now gone three days in a row with no deaths from the virus.

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