NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a new directive to international travelers Thursday.
He wants some returning from certain countries to isolate themselves voluntarily.
At JFK Airport, some international travelers were already wearing masks as a precaution to protect themselves from the coronavirus, but de Blasio wants those returning from China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan to take it a step further.
“We’re asking that you isolate yourself for 14 days as a precaution,” he said.
“That’s crazy, though,” said Ali Saab, whose family member returned from Italy. “Because it’s not doable.”
One traveler returning from Italy says she’s going back to work.
“I’m a doctor, so I think that you should use good sense,” one woman told CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas. “There were no cases by us.”
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Tan Cheng left China on Feb. 15, which included a two-week quarantine in Malaysia, but he’ll do another two weeks just so he can return to school.
“I can take online, but maybe after two weeks I can go back to classrooms,” he said.
So will Tyler Frisia, who is in limbo after returning from his study abroad in Italy.
“I would like to just minimize the risk for other people,” he said.
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Quarantine is one strategy to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. Disinfecting all MTA stations is another.
“We think it reduces the already low risk of getting the virus on public transit,” MTA Chairman Pat Foye said.
To lessen growing concerns, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson shared a picture online of him riding the subway with a caption that said, “Take precautions like you would any cold and flu season.”
On the subway this morning headed to City Hall! Take precautions like you would any cold and flu season: cover sneezes and coughs with your elbows or tissues, wash your hands after you ride, and call your health care provider with concerns re: underlying health issues. pic.twitter.com/QQM2l6p5P9
— NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson (@NYCSpeakerCoJo) March 5, 2020
De Blasio also rode the subway, hoping his example sends a clear message.
Officials say covering your cough or sneeze with your elbow helps keep the illness from spreading, and frequent hand washing or using hand sanitizer is still the best defense.