At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, Governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order to require a mandatory quarantine for all persons traveling to Texas via flight from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the city of New Orleans.
According to Abbott, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx — two of the leading professionals on President Trump’s coronavirus task force — warned that a large number of COVID-19 cases in the New York area could spread to the rest of the country and suggested that a self-quarantine of 14 days would help contain the virus.
Dr. Fauci said such measures would help prevent New York from “acting like a seeding point to the rest of the country.”
“To achieve that goal,” said Abbott during the conference, “today I’m issuing an executive order consistent with the guidance from Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci as it relates to people traveling from the New York tri-state area. Those entering the state of Texas through an airport, either in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut will be subject to a mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days or for the duration of their stay in Texas, whichever is shorter.”
Given the high number of cases in New Orleans, the governor said that the city would be included in the order as well.
Abbott said the process will be run and enforced by the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Those entering Texas airports from the areas designated in the order will be required to disclose their quarantine location (e.g. a hotel) on a form. Other identifying information will also be required.
DPS will conduct visits to the quarantine locations to verify compliance.
Failure to comply is considered a criminal offense and is punishable by up to a $1,000 fine or up to 180 days in jail.
Quarantined persons may not allow any visitors into or out of their location except a physician or healthcare provider.
In his press conference, Abbott also noted that the number of coronavirus tests administered in Texas have greatly increased in the past week — up to over 21,000 from about 2,000 — and that the number should continue to grow rapidly.
The governor said that the number of available beds in the state of Texas has increased by 3,000 since his executive order on Sunday to postpone all unnecessary surgeries.
Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. While recently finishing his degree in Political Science from Azusa Pacific University, he also interned in the U.S. Senate and co-authored a book on C. S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy. In his spare time, he might be reading up on Dostoevsky or attempting to write a novel.