NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — State and local officials issued a strong warning Wednesday that the next 10 days are critical in containing the spread of COVID-19.

With a new more contagious strain raising concerns, Mayor Bill de Blasio is stepping up quarantine enforcement in the city, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported.

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Now, all travelers coming into New York City will be greeted by the city Department of Health with a warning: either quarantine or face a fine.

“Filling out a form to let them know that I guess they track your whereabouts. That was easy, too. Only took two minutes on the internet,” one traveler said.

“They said we had to fill out a form. Basically, they’ll try to reach us if someone tested positive on the line,” another added.

For those arriving from the United Kingdom, where a new coronavirus strain was found to be more contagious, city officials are taking enforcement a step further.

“We’re going to have sheriff’s deputies go to the home or the hotel of every single traveler coming in from the U.K.,” de Blasio said.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

It’s an added measure after Gov. Andrew Cuomo struck a deal with airlines requiring passengers to have a negative coronavirus test before boarding flights from the U.K. to John F. Kennedy Airport.

Quarantine violators will be subjected to $1,000 fines for each day they’re not in compliance.

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“We don’t want to, but if you don’t follow quarantine you’re endangering everyone else in the city right as we’re fighting the second wave,” de Blasio said.

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While holiday travel is strongly discouraged, it’s still expected to be one of the busiest seasons of the year, and the source of a potential spike in new cases.

Dr. Tom Frieden, a former director of the Centers for Disease Control, weighed in on the risks while appearing on CBS This Morning.

“There’s not enough vaccine yet, and we’re seeing the highest levels of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, the U.S. has, since the start of this pandemic,” Frieden said.

Officials said the next 10 days could determine how devastating the next few months could be, which is why there’s a sense of urgency, just as the vaccine provides hope that this whole nightmare is closer than ever to being over.

The U.S. does not have plans for a travel ban, but more than 40 other countries have banned or restricted travel from the U.K.

It’s still unclear if New Jersey and Connecticut will also step up quarantine enforcement during the holidays.

CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas contributed to this report

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