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DHS Chief Shuts Down Rumors of an Enforced National Lockdown

DHS Chief Shuts Down Rumors of an Enforced National Lockdown
Rumors of any form of a national lockdown in response to the coronavirus outbreak are just that, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Sunday.
Wolf spoke to Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures” about the administration’s plans to battle the virus.
The administration so far has relied on voluntary compliance with state and local “stay in place” orders that have been issued in conjunction with national public health officials, but it has plans developed in case that fails, according to the Washington Examiner.
A plan to mobilize the National Guard to help enforce a two-week quarantine could be possible if efforts to slow the spread of the virus appear to need more urgency, it reported, citing a source it did not mention. Such a plan would require that businesses close except for grocery stores and pharmacies.
The report also said the administration could ground domestic air travel to keep regional hot spots from spreading.
Amid reports such as that one, Bartiromo asked Wolf if a national lockdown was being considered.
“Not at this time,” he said. “The president, again, through the vice president and the task force, has been very aggressive and very forward-leaning in providing a number of guidance, a number of information to the American public. We have the 15 days to slow the spread.”
Wolf said a “disinformation campaign” was at work to spread rumors of a nationwide lockdown.
“We have seen a number of reports, and I have personally gotten contacted a number of times, about text messages or these screenshots going around saying that, ‘I know someone at DHS, and they say we’re going to have a national lockdown or a national quarantine.’ And I would just say, that’s absolutely false. It’s not true. And it is part of a disinformation campaign,” he said.
Wolf said the administration applauds actions in states such as California and New York that have imposed tough orders to keep people at home in hopes of slowing the spread of the virus.
“So there’s a number of measures that we’re asking the American public to take. You will see that there’s been a number of governors, particularly in New York and California, that have taken the extra step and imposed some additional strict measures. And we certainly agree with those measures. There’s going to be certain communities that have widespread community transmission that need to take more aggressive measures than perhaps other communities.”
Wolf said that so far, a national one-size-fits-all order has not been required.
“There are other parts of the country, perhaps in the Midwest and the South, that are not seeing those same numbers. They don’t need to take those aggressive measures at this time. But, again, we continue to evaluate this really on a day-by-day, week-by-week basis,” he said.
Wolf said the administration wants to gear its response to the situation at the local and regional levels.
“What we want to do is, we want to take aggressive steps, again, in those communities that we’re seeing large numbers and outbreaks so that we don’t have to take those measures elsewhere if we don’t need to. That’s really the concept behind it,” Wolf said.
“But, again, I would say that there are measures that the entire American public can take, regardless of where you’re at. That’s the 15 days to slow the spread that the vice president came out and the task force came out with. So there’s a number of recommendations that any American can take anywhere they live. Those individuals that are in, again, high-transmission areas, like New York City, like parts of California, the governor is asking them to take additional measures, so that, again, we can control the spread and mitigate that,” he said.
Wolf said that the situation remains fluid.
“There’s no immediate plans to put travel restrictions on domestic travel. We continue to be concerned, again, about those high-transmission areas like New York, like parts of California and Washington,” he said. “So we’re going to continue to look at that. If we see that we need to put some targeted travel restrictions in place, we will do that. But I will say, there’s no immediate plans as of right now for any widespread travel restrictions.”
When asked about the economic impact of the actions taken to date, Wolf noted that “first and foremost, we need to protect the American people from the virus.”
Wolf said there is a lag time between action and results.
“What I will say is, some of the measures that we are putting in place, some of the aggressive measures that we’re putting in place, we need to put those in place now to see results in three to four to five weeks from now,” he said.

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