Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, speaks during a press conference at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle, New York, U.S., on Friday, March 13, 2020.

Angus Mordant | Bloomberg | Getty Images

New York City will not be quarantined, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday, trying to dispel rumors as cities and states ramp up efforts to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

Cuomo said he wants to tamp down rumors that the city will be placed under lockdown similar to measures taken by public officials in Italy and China, which have the highest number of cases in the world. 

“That cannot happen. It cannot happen legally,” Cuomo said at a news briefing, saying the mayor of New York City doesn’t have that authority and he doesn’t want to lock down cities. “No city in this state can quarantine itself without state approval and I have no interest whatsoever, and no plan whatsoever, to quarantine any city.”

San Francisco Bay area officials ordered some 7 million residents to “shelter in place” on Monday. When asked earlier Tuesday whether it was time for New York City to do the same, Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was “absolutely on the table.” 

“Under the emergency powers I can do curfews, road restrictions, all sorts of shutdowns,” de Blasio said Tuesday on PIX11. “All of that is on the table right now.

COVID-19 has infected more than 1,300 people across the state, Cuomo said, and it has killed 12 people in New York. In New York City, the virus has infected more than 644 people, according to the city’s department of health.

New York state and other hard-hit regions across the country are trying to slow the spread of the virus so that the nation’s healthcare systems don’t get overwhelmed. Cuomo and other tri-state area officials on Monday banned all gatherings of 50 or more people and placed restrictions on restaurants, bars and other places of recreation.

“When we’re going to have a real problem is when cases hit their apex and descend on the health-care system and we will not have enough hospital beds,” Cuomo said Tuesday. 

New York closed all public schools in Westchester, Long Island and New York City this week to curb the spread of the virus, Cuomo announced Sunday. 

Nationally, COVID-19 has infected over 4,661 people, according to Johns Hopkins University, and spread to every state except for West Virginia. The virus has killed at least 85 people in the U.S.

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