Governor of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, announced yesterday that travelers from 22 US states must now quarantine on arrival in New York State. The governor added four states to the New York travel advisory as the state strives to contain the transmission rates of COVID-19.
Travel enforcement operation begins in New York
Governor Cuomo announced in a press release on Tuesday that the states of Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, and Wisconsin have been added to New York’s travel advisory, bringing the number of restricted US states to 22. Delaware has been removed from the list. Travelers from these states are required to quarantine for 14 days when arriving in New York.
The other affected states are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
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A travel enforcement operation began on Tuesday 14 at airports across New York State. Airlines are issuing a State Department of Health traveler form to all passengers before boarding or disembarking flights to New York. Enforcement teams will be at arrival gates to greet passengers and request proof that they have completed the form and provided contact details.
An electronic version of the form is also now available to make compliance easier. Passengers who attempt to leave the airport without completing the form will face a $2,000 fine and mandatory quarantine. It is estimated that around 12,000 people from the affected states arrive in New York daily.
New York’s success against coronavirus
New York has been pretty successful in stemming the rate of COVID-19 infections. At the height of the outbreak, almost 19,000 people were hospitalized. The figure is now down to around 790 people, and the state has one of the lowest infection rates in the country. Governor Cuomo said,
“New Yorkers showed incredible courage and resiliency throughout this pandemic . . . However, the success of our efforts depends on citizens’ willingness to comply with state guidance . . . and rising cases around the country continue to threaten our progress, which is why four new states have been added to New York’s travel advisory.
“No one wants to go back to the hell we experienced three months ago, so please stay vigilant.”
Some doubts about quarantine measures
According to the New York Times, epidemiologists have expressed skepticism over the quarantine measures. Since the travel advisory order came into effect on June 25, no fines or compulsory quarantine orders have been issued in New York City. Officials are urging visitors to take the quarantine seriously, and it is hoped they will comply voluntarily. Even Governor Cuomo acknowledges the government’s limited reach in enforcing the order.
Additionally, where passengers travel to New York from one of the affected states via another state that isn’t on the list it creates a problem. In some cases, passengers have had to seek out officials to fill out the necessary forms.
Last month, IATA condemned quarantine as an effective way to deal with the pandemic. It suggested a layered approach to reducing the risk of transmission. Earlier this month, the UK government scrapped quarantine measures in England for 59 countries and territories.