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20 Mar, 2020 02:38

California governor issues mandatory STAY AT HOME order, projects 56% of population infected with coronavirus in 8 weeks

California governor issues mandatory STAY AT HOME order, projects 56% of population infected with coronavirus in 8 weeks

California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a mandatory “stay at home” order to all residents, shuttering all businesses beyond “critical sectors” while suggesting the state’s hospitals could soon hit their breaking point.

“Everyone is required to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job,” read a statement on California’s coronavirus response website, issued following Newsom's order. “If you go out, keep at least six feet of distance.”

Businesses to remain open during the lockdown include banks, pharmacies, gas stations, as well as grocery stores and restaurants – though the latter will be confined to carry-out and delivery only.

Newsom expressed concern during a press conference on Thursday night that tens of thousands of patients could soon swarm California’s hospitals as the disease rapidly spreads across the state, putting healthcare facilities far beyond capacity. He earlier projected that some 56 percent of the state’s residents – or over 25 million people – could contract the illness within eight weeks.

More than 1,000 Californians have contracted the coronavirus, with 18 deaths, as fatalities nationwide soar to over 200, out of more than 14,000 confirmed cases. The disease toll has climbed rapidly over the last week in the US, with thousands of new infections emerging in the space of a few days.

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The governor has now called on US President Donald Trump to deploy a Navy hospital vessel, the USNS 'Mercy,' suggesting it be docked at a port in Los Angeles to help the sprawling metropolis keep up with the influx of new patients.

After the new sweeping travel restrictions were announced in California, administration officials in Washington are considering closure of the US-Mexico border to stem the transmission of the illness, which could be announced as early as Friday, according to Reuters. The decision would mirror an earlier move to close the border between the US and Canada to nonessential travel announced on Wednesday.

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