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10 Mar, 2020 19:35

National Guard to lock down New Rochelle, NY in coronavirus quarantine

National Guard to lock down New Rochelle, NY in coronavirus quarantine

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered the state National Guard to New Rochelle, a town in the affluent Westchester County, to enforce a two-week COVID-19 coronavirus quarantine.

The troops will help clean and deliver food in the designated “containment area” in a one-mile (1.6 km) radius around the area where the contagion appears to have originated, until the lockdown is lifted on March 25.

“It is a dramatic action, but it is the largest cluster of cases in the country,” Cuomo said at a news conference on Tuesday. “The numbers are going up unabated, and we do need a special public health strategy for New Rochelle.”

Westchester County is a suburban area just north of New York City, where 108 cases of COVID-19 have been registered so far – the vast majority of New York state’s 173 known cases.

Almost 1,000 people in the county are currently in quarantine, as they may have been exposed to the 50-year-old attorney considered “patient zero” in New Rochelle while attending a bat mitzvah, a funeral and religious services at an area synagogue.

All schools and houses of worship will be closed starting Friday, and the authorities are still determining which “large congregate facilities or gathering places” will be shuttered as well.

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Meanwhile, the UN has closed its New York City headquarters to the general public on Tuesday, citing “abundance of caution” regarding the coronavirus outbreak, and will cut down the number of staff working there until further notice.

There have been almost 700 reported cases of COVID-19 in the US as of Tuesday, with a total of 28 fatalities so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Washington state has the largest number of reported cases, followed by New York and California.

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