Mon | Sep 21, 2020

Florida shifts coronavirus containment to outside travellers

Published:Tuesday | March 24, 2020 | 4:04 PM
An American Airlines flight taxis to an airside terminal at Tampa International Airport late Monday, March 23, 2020. (Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (AP) — Governor Ron DeSantis has refused to follow the lead of other states that have issued broad shutdowns to control the spread of the coronavirus, instead shifting the onus to outside travellers whom he blames for bringing COVID-19 into Florida.

DeSantis issued an executive order Monday requiring anyone arriving on a flight from New York City and New Jersey to self-quarantine for two weeks.

On Tuesday, he extended that order to anyone who had arrived by flight or by car within the past three weeks.

The governor order’s came after cities in the tourism-dependent state had closed beaches to throngs of spring breakers and more than a week after Disney World, Universal Studios and other attractions popular with out-of-state visitors closed their gates.

State officials have not responded to a request from The Associated Press for information on how many people diagnosed in Florida recently arrived from New York or had contact with someone who did.

Officials from New York and New Jersey did not immediately comment on DeSantis’ order.

A check of the online flight boards at Florida’s six busiest airports Tuesday afternoon showed that about 40% of approximately 150 flights from the New York City area had been cancelled Tuesday.

It was hard to gauge how much of that was because of DeSantis’ order, however.

Flight travel to all destinations across the country has plummeted due to the coronavirus outbreak: U.S. airlines have already cut most of their international flights and have announced plans to reduce service within the U.S. by up to 40% in April. 

More than 8,300 US flights were cancelled Tuesday, according to tracking service FlightAware.

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