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Street checkpoints and fines: Florida toughens quarantine measures

When on Saturday, March 28, in Florida, the number of deaths from coronavirus reached 54, and the total number of infected exceeded 4000, Governor Ron DeSantis ordered the state's general surgeon, Dr. Scott Rivkis, to send alerts to every resident of the state, writes USA Today.

Photo: Shutterstock

The message that Rivka wrote on March 28 afternoon was a reiteration of the recommendations issued a few days before - that people 65 years of age and older, as well as people with underlying illnesses should stay home and avoid the crowds, and everyone should practice “ social distance ".

By the evening of March 28, the number of coronavirus cases in Florida was 4038, more than 5 times more than a week before the state reported 706 infections. The number of deaths has reached 56.

The virus was especially deadly for people over 65: this group makes up 89% of all deaths in the state. Another 35% were between 55 and 74 years old. Younger people accounted for 4% of deaths, people over 85 years old - 19% of deaths.

“Protect yourself. Now is not the time to go out. Do not get involved in any large crowds, use this time to protect yourself, ”said DeSantis live from his conference room in the Capitol.

DeSantis and public health officials are fighting to control the spread of the virus before it disrupts the ability of hospitals and healthcare providers to help.

On Friday, March 27, the governor issued an order extending the previous directive, according to which airline passengers from the New York area should be self-insulated for 14 days. Now, those who came from Louisiana via Interstate 10 Interstate Highway have now been added to the quarantine order.

The ban does not apply to commercial transport.

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In New Orleans, there has been a surge in coronavirus and more than 1000 cases have been recorded since the traditional Mardi Gras festival. The total number of infections in Louisiana exceeded 3300 as of Saturday, March 28. DeSantis wants to prevent any opportunity for visitors from Louisiana to “bring” the virus to Florida.

Pensacola, Florida is just a 3-hour drive from New Orleans, and officials have expressed concern that travelers are leaving the state and carrying the virus to Florida.

“Look, we are either trying to fight this virus or not,” DeSantis said of his plan, which includes checking at the Interstate 10 checkpoint on the Alabama line, and National Guard officers meet travelers from the New York area at airports.

“We did what we could with New York, and we do the same with the New Orleans hotspot,” DeSantis said.

His executive decrees identified most of New York and Louisiana as areas with a significant population spread. People traveling from these regions must "independently" state that they have arrived from a hot spot and agree to quarantine within 14 days after arriving in Florida. Violation could face 60-day imprisonment and a fine of up to $ 500.

Along the I-10 motorway, special signs were installed to guide drivers to a checkpoint where they are notified of the requirement. DeSantis said he is also considering setting up a special point on I-95 to “catch” travelers from New York.

At the same time, despite the fact that the Department of Health of Georgia called Albany (a city 88 miles north of Tallahassee, Florida), a place with a "steady spread of coronavirus," DeSantis said nothing about the creation of a checkpoint on I-75 . His office did not respond to a request for control on Highway 319. Both routes connect north Florida with Albany.

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The governor also called on local airport authorities and airlines to help identify travelers from hot spots. National Guard and Health officials are already working at major airports, and DeSantis called for checking the arrival of such travelers at smaller airports such as Tallahassee.

On Friday, March 27, he said that the state would suspend the rental of vacation homes for two weeks, telling visitors: “If you are resting in such a place now, finish and drive home.”

Despite growing support among lawmakers, DeSantis refused to issue isolation orders throughout the state, restricting residents from moving, as 22 other states did. Instead, he preferred to allow local governments to address this issue. In at least 10 districts, any restrictions have been introduced to close non-essential enterprises and advise residents to stay home.

There are severe restrictions in South Florida, with local orders in Broward and Miami Dade counties, which account for nearly half of the state’s infection.

Hillsborough and Pinellas counties also issued directives, as did Orange and Osceola counties in Central Florida. In some communities, including Leon County, curfews have also been imposed, and in many places you can be arrested or fined for violating the regime.

In the U.S. Fla. coronavirus Special Projects

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