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Demanding Answers: New York Officials Still Say It's Feds' Job To Monitor International Passengers, But Customs, CDC Not Talking

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Hundreds of international flights that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has blamed for causing the coronavirus outbreak continue to fly to our area.

So what are our officials doing to make sure we stop the spread this time around?

On Friday, CBS2's Lisa Rozner demanded answers.

MOREDemanding Answers: Flights From Countries Hard Hit By Coronavirus Still Coming, So Are Precautions In Place?

Next week, Alitalia will restart flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport via Rome, Italy, one of the world's COVID-19 hotspots.

That route, plus several others out of Europe, will ramp up in June. Cuomo has repeatedly called out those flights for creating the crisis.

"Three million European visitors came on flights to JFK or Newark airports," Cuomo said recently.


U.S. Customs and Border Protection says all international travelers are asked about medical history, and current condition, but out of the thousands passing through JFK and Newark the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says only 100 have been taken to its airport quarantine stations for further evaluation, which consists of a temperature check.

The majority, like one woman who landed in Newark from Albania, are told they need to do a two-week quarantine.

That's why Hawaii has state workers greeting passengers coming off international flights, collecting quarantine addresses, and even posting wanted photos if they leave.

MOREDemanding Answers: Why Won't Anyone Enforce Airport Quarantine Rules In New York Or New Jersey?

But in New York, Gov. Cuomo says it's not the state's role.

New York City's Department of Health says at this stage it expects people will follow the rules, and New Jersey is also blindly trusting travelers.

So on Friday, Rozner asked U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer who should be keeping track.

"It's obviously on the feds," Schumer said.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Rozner told New York's senior senator there's not a lot of time for finger pointing, adding after passengers leave customs they come into are communities and that should be our problem.

"The bottom line is to make this work you need to test them. You can't do tracing until you know who has COVID," Schumer said.

When asked if he will call on the federal agencies responsible to investigate, Schumer said, "I think they should look at the whole issue of testing."

No one has the same answer on how people entering the country and eventually into our communities are being monitored, which begs the question: If and when a second wave hits, who will be to blame then?

U.S. Customs and the CDC have denied CBS2's requests for an on-camera interview every day this week.

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