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Coronavirus

Trump proposes quarantine on greater New York area

Restrictions would span over 20m people, including New Jersey and Connecticut

The Williamsburg Bridge in New York: Cases in New York state surpassed 52,000 on Saturday.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday said his administration was weighing travel restrictions on New York, which has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country, and surrounding states.

"I am giving consideration to a QUARANTINE of developing 'hot spots,' New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut," Trump said in a Twitter post, reiterating what he told reporters at the White House. "A decision will be made, one way or another, shortly."

In his White House remarks, Trump said the quarantine would be "enforceable" and "short term," possibly lasting "two weeks."

The New York metropolitan area is the most populous in the U.S with more than 20 million people. The three states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are home to about 32 million people.

The announcement appeared to catch state leaders off guard. Speaking at his own briefing, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he had not spoken to the president about a quarantine.

"I have not had those conversations," Cuomo said.

"I don't even know what that means," he said of the quarantine proposal.

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. topped 112,000 on Saturday, with Cuomo a day earlier describing the country's outbreak as a "bullet train" heading toward his state.

Cases in New York have increased to more than 52,000 while the state's death toll rose to 728, Cuomo said.

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