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Gov. Cuomo On Catching COVID-19 At Airports: 'The Feds Are Letting Us Down, So I Have To Step In'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A day after the World Health Organization announced the worst 24-hour increase of more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases since the global outbreak began, New York State had it's best number with only 246 new confirmed infections - but there's a conflict about keeping new cases from coming back to New York.

"We're back to a point earlier than we were when this COVID crisis hit us, and we started that spike so that's really good news," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo during his Thursday COVID-19 briefing. "The number of deaths, 105, that's terrible news - relatively better than it has been, but still 105 families who are grieving today."

Some of the same international flights that have long been blamed for causing coronavirus to explode in New York and New Jersey area are still operating, and Cuomo was quick to blame the federal government on that problem.

As reported by CBS2 this week, data from shows in the last two weeks international flights to Newark Liberty Airport and John F. Kennedy Airport have arrived from China, South Korea, and much of Europe, including the United Kingdom and Italy.

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

"The feds are letting us down so I have to step in," said Cuomo. "It's questionable about what the state's role is, but it's something we're watching - taking temperatures of people coming in, asking questions of people coming in - is something we're considering.... It raises legal questions and policy questions."

MOREInternational College Students Still Stranded In U.S. As Coronavirus Travel Bans Continue

Earlier this week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection declined CBS2's request for an on-camera interview. A spokesperson referred all of our questions to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Both agencies would only say there is an "enhanced entry screening," adding the passenger is asked about medical history, current condition, and some are having their temperature taken.


"We don't do Customs and Border Patrol," the governor repeated on Thursday. "That is basically a federal obligation and a federal duty in a federal role. They do all the clearances of people coming in at airports. We administratively operate the airports with the Port Authority, but it's federal law and federal agents that can stop people from coming in, that can quarantine at an airport.

The entry of COVID-19 from Europe reportedly lead to its spread along the East Coast after an intial outbreak in the Pacific Northwest from coronavirus coming from China.

FLASHBACKCoronavirus Precautions: International Travelers Arriving At NYC Airports Concerned By Lack Of Screenings

"The tables have turned somewhat in New York," said Cuomo. "New Yorkers done have done a phenomenal job of doing what they needed to do to flatten that curve. The infection rate in New York is coming down the infection rate in the rest of the nation is going up, you have some states that are have more cases than they've ever had right now."

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