Coronavirus task force unanimously backed New York travel advisory, not quarantine: Mnuchin

'The president did very seriously consider it,' Treasury secretary says of travel ban

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The White House coronavirus task force unanimously recommended a travel advisory for the New York tri-state area, not the quarantine that President Trump floated on Twitter, task force member and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin told "Fox News Sunday."

"The president did very seriously consider it," Mnuchin said. "The task force met yesterday with the vice president. It was the unanimous recommendation of the task force to go forward with the advisory."

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"The vice president and myself, Mark Meadows and others met with the president yesterday afternoon, and he decided to go forward with the recommendation," he said.

The CDC on Saturday issued a Domestic Travel Advisory urging against "non-essential domestic travel" in the tri-state area for 14 days.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in Washington, as President Donald Trump listens. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

"Due to extensive community transmission of COVID -19 in the area, CDC urges residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately," it said, noting that the advisory doesn't apply to  "employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply."

The CDC's advisory came shortly after Trump backtracked on the idea of an "enforceable quarantine" for the areas like he had floated on Saturday.

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"On the recommendation of the White House CoronaVirus Task Force, and upon consultation with the Governor’s of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, I have asked the CDC to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the Federal Government," Trump wrote on Twitter.

"A quarantine will not be necessary. Full details will be released by CDC tonight. Thank you!" he wrote.

Social media users expressed frustration that the possibility of such a quarantine was floated and then taken back.

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"Honest question: Why would Trump float a tri-state quarantine, cause panic & confusion in those states, and then announce he’s not doing it? In the face of the biggest national crisis in decades, what is the strategy in that?" Twitter user Alex Conant wrote.

"The president wanted to consider all the options," Mnuchin said Sunday. "He was obviously concerned what was going on with New York. He spoke to the task force, he spoke to the governors, and he was comfortable that people would take this advisory very seriously and would not travel."

New York has more than 53,000 confirmed cases.

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