U.S. President Donald Trump said he is considering imposing a quarantine on New York in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
"We would like to see [it] quarantined because it is an access point, "he told reporters." I am thinking about it. "
He spoke of how confirmed cases in the state have increased to more than 52,000, about half the total in the U.S.
But state governor Andrew Cuomo said he did not discuss these measures with the president.
"I didn't speak to him about quarantine," he told reporters shortly after speaking to Trump over the phone.
"I didn't have those conversations," he added. "I don't even know what that means."
New York State has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the United States.
Speaking before leaving to visit a Navy hospital ship in Virginia, Trump said "New Jersey [and] certain parts of Connecticut "may also be quarantined under measure.
"We may not have to do that, but there is a possibility that today we will quarantine – in the short term [for] two weeks, "he said.
But Cuomo, who was holding a daily press conference at the time of Trump's comments on Saturday, expressed concern about the idea.
"I don't know how it can be legally applicable," he said. "And from a medical point of view, I don't know what you would be doing."
"But I can tell you that I don't even like the sound," he added. "Not even understanding what it is, I don't like the sound of it."
Trump did not provide further details about what a quarantine would look like in New York or other severely affected U.S. cities.
But he said the goal would be to slow the spread of the virus to other parts of the United States.
"They are having problems in Florida. A lot of New Yorkers are falling. We don't want that," he said as he left the White House.
Similar quarantine measures in other countries involved widespread closures, bans on public meetings and severe restrictions on travel within and outside the affected area.
New York banned any major meetings in the state and ordered everyone to stay home in an effort to slow the spread.
The White House said anyone leaving New York should isolate themselves for 14 days. On Friday, the governor of nearby Rhode Island sent National Guard troops to stop cars with a New York license plate to remind them of the state's restriction on quarantining.
Soldiers go door to door in coastal vacation communities to ask if any residents have recently visited New York City.
How can it be applied?
Analysis by Peter Bowes, BBC News, Los Angeles
The quarantine of entire states would mark a significant and threatening intensification of the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus.
There have been rumors in the past two weeks that a mandatory national quarantine could be implemented, but this is the first time Trump has indicated that state borders could be closed.
The initial response from New York governor Andrew Cuomo suggests that an attempt by the federal government to quarantine the state could be problematic.
Although the president has broad powers, especially during a national emergency, it is the role of state and local governments to lead in preventing the spread of disease.
Trump said there would be a decision very soon and that interstate trade would not be affected. But if he goes ahead, that order could be challenged in the courts.
What's the latest in the US?
With more than 1,800 virus-related fatalities, the death toll in the U.S. remains lower than in Italy and China. But there are virus hotspots in New York, New Orleans, Detroit and Seattle.
At his press conference, Cuomo said New York is postponing its presidential primary for almost two months until June 23, as a result of the outbreak.
He also said the crisis would peak in the next 14 to 21 days.
Cuomo said the state will soon need 30,000 respiratory ventilators, which have increased in price to $ 45,000 (36,000 pounds) each due to demand.
He added that Trump approved the construction of four temporary hospitals.
Demand for fans has also doubled in southern Louisiana. Governor John Bel Edwards said New Orleans will be without ventilators until April 2 and possibly without hospital beds until April 7, if the number of new infections does not decrease.
"It is not a fragile theory. This is what will happen," he said.
New York City hospitals are quickly running out of medical equipment and personal protective equipment. More broadly, mayors in most U.S. cities said they expected a massive shortage of critical personal safety equipment in the coming weeks.
On Saturday, Trump watched USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship with 1,000 beds on board, departing for New York from Virginia. He will position himself on a Manhattan pier to deal with the patient overload that New York expects.
Came later Trump signed a $ 2.2 trillion bailout project passed by Congress on Friday, the biggest fiscal stimulus in US history.
In other developments:
- More than 600,000 infections have been confirmed globally and more than 30,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University
- The city in China where the coronavirus pandemic started, Wuhan, partially reopened after more than two months of isolation. People are allowed to enter, but not to leave, according to reports
- Italy confirmed more than 10,000 deaths after 889 more people died in the past 24 hours
- The death toll in Spain has exceeded 5,000, after registering an additional 832 deaths. Spain is the most affected country in the world after Italy
- The US now has the highest number of confirmed infections in the world, with 112,000
- South Korea says that, for the first time, it now has more people who have recovered from the virus than are still infected.
- Russia and Ireland are among the most recent countries to introduce new restrictions to try to slow the spread of the virus. In Russia, shopping malls, restaurants and cafes were ordered to close. In Ireland, people will have to stay at home with limited exceptions for the next two weeks
- In the UK, the front line The British National Health Service team will begin testing this weekend to see if they have coronavirus