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Texas Orders 14-day Quarantine of Air Travelers From NY-NJ-CT, New Orleans

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By Robert T. Garrett – dallasnews.com March 26, 2020

Texas is ordering air travelers from the tri-state area around New York City and from New Orleans to self-quarantine for 14 days after they arrive — to reduce spread of the novel coronavirus.

On Thursday, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order that requires air travelers to isolate themselves at hotels or designated residences, avoiding public spaces, shunning visitors and having direct contact only with physicians or other health care providers.

An air traveler’s required self-quarantine must last 14 days – or for the person’s entire stay, whichever is shorter, he said.

The edict takes effect at noon Saturday.

While Abbott warned that it will be enforced, with scofflaws potentially facing up to 180 days in jail, he emphasized the step was taken “simply to achieve the goals” of reducing the spread of COVID-19 that federal officials have set.

Abbott also took pains to stress that he acted in consultation with physicians Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, and Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.

Recently, Birx and Fauci urged travelers from the New York metropolitan area to self-quarantine for 14 days to ensure the virus doesn’t spread to others, Abbott noted.

At a Capitol news briefing and in his written proclamation, Abbott quoted Fauci – who has become a household name during the pandemic – as saying those actions are necessary so New York does not act as a “seeding point to the rest of the country.”

In what may be a first, the Republican governor also quoted in his executive order, though not by name, a comment by New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio, a recent Democratic presidential hopeful.

“After the governor of Florida imposed a quarantine on all air travelers arriving from the New York Tri-State Area, … the mayor of New York City remarked to the press, ‘I understand it. We are the epicenter,’” the order recounts.

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