Gov. Cuomo won’t scrap quarantine rule despite CDC lifting travel directive

The Centers for Disease Control has lifted its directive recommending travelers coming from states with a high rate of coronavirus cases self-quarantine for 14 days to stem the spread of the killer bug.

But New York, New Jersey and Connecticut still have no plans to rescind their two-week mandatory quarantines on travelers arriving from areas deemed to have high or increasing COVID-19 cases.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo indicated Tuesday that New York’s travel advisory won’t be scrapped anytime soon.

“The pandemic is not over,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo did announce that five states — Alaska, Arizona, Delaware, Maryland and Montana —have been removed from New York State’s COVID-19 travel advisory to quarantine.

Meanwhile, Guam has been added to the list of domestic COVID-19 travel restrictions to New York, which includes 30 other states and US territories.

The quarantine applies to any person arriving from an area with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average, or an area with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.

While the CDC lifted its universal guidance for self-quarantining for travel, it did say that travelers should “follow state, territorial, tribal and local recommendations or requirements after travel.”

One city lawmaker said it’s time for Cuomo to scrap the quarantine on domestic travel from much of the U.S.

“The quarantine is illogical and irrelevant. It’s only serving to undermine New York’s recovery,” said Councilman Joe Borelli (R-S.I.), who just returned from a vacation in Maryland, which had been on the New York’s quarantine list until Tuesday.

He said the quarantine edict is “unenforceable and therefore pointless” and is “hurting tourism, hurting business and discouraging family visitation.”

Cuomo on Tuesday reported a COVID-19 infection rate of below one percent in New York State for 18 consecutive days.

Of the 67,255 test results reported to New York State Monday, 629, or 0.94 percent, were positive. On Sunday, the infection rate was 0.66 of one percent — the lowest since the pandemic hit the state.

Statewide, two deaths were reported from COVID-19, matching the state’s previous low — and no deaths were reported in New York City.

The coronavirus has claimed 32,887 lives in New York, according to the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center — by far the highest death total in the country. The Cuomo administration has come under fire over the high number of deaths in New York’s nursing homes.

Cuomo’s office and the state Health Department had no immediate comment on the CDC’s new guidance.

But the governor, in a press release Tuesday, defended the travel advisory as helping tamp down COVID-19 in New York after the bug ravaged the state in the early spring — and indicated the advisory to quarantine upon arrival here could be in place for some time.

“New Yorkers made enormous sacrifices to get our numbers as low as they are today, and we don’t want to give up an inch of that hard-earned progress,” Cuomo said.

“That’s why these travel advisory precautions are so important – we don’t want people who travel to states with high community spread to bring the virus back here,” Cuomo said.

“While it’s good news that five states have been removed from the travel advisory, the list remains far too long as America continues to struggle with COVID-19. New Yorkers should stay vigilant and be careful — wear a mask, socially distance, and be smart. This pandemic is not over.”

The CDC’s revised travel guidance is now based on what’s happening with the virus in individual countries. It also recommends that all travelers should social distance, wear a mask, wash their hands often and monitor for COVID-19 symptoms.

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