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California Governor Announces Statewide Stay-At-Home Order Over Rapid Spread Of COVID-19

"Those that work in critical sectors should go to work. Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and more will stay open," tweeted the governor. "We need to meet this moment and flatten the curve together."
21 Mar 2020 09:32
California Governor Announces Statewide Stay-At-Home Order Over Rapid Spread Of COVID-19
Few pedestrians are seen in the China Town of San Francisco, the United States, March 16, 2020. (Photo by Liu Yilin/Xinhua)

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Thursday evening a statewide stay-at-home order for the most populous U.S. state in response to the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Newsom asked all nearly 40 million Californians to stay home unless it is absolutely necessary to head out.

“In a short period of time, COVID-19 has rapidly spread throughout the entire State of California, necessitating updated and more stringent guidance from federal, state, and local public health officials,” said the governor in his executive order, noting that it is for the preservation of public health and safety of the state.

“When people need to leave their homes or places of residence, whether to obtain or perform the functions above, or to otherwise facilitate authorized necessary activities, they should at all times practice social distancing,” the governor noted in the order.

An empty tourist trolley is seen in San Francisco, the United States, March 16, 2020. (Photo by Liu Yilin/Xinhua)

An empty tourist trolley is seen in San Francisco, the United States, March 16, 2020. (Photo by Liu Yilin/Xinhua)

The governor’s order goes into effect immediately and is in place until further notice.

“Those that work in critical sectors should go to work. Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and more will stay open,” tweeted the governor. “We need to meet this moment and flatten the curve together.”

Newsom said the public health officers are looking to establish consistency across the state in order to ensure that they mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

“Californians must have access to such necessities as food, prescriptions, and health care,” the order said.

On Thursday, Newsom also sent a letter to the leaders of Congress calling for over 1 billion U.S. dollars in initial federal funding to support the state’s coordinated COVID-19 response and pandemic surge planning and implementation.

In another letter published Thursday to U.S. President Donald Trump, Newsom warned that 56 percent of Californians, or around 25.5 million people, will be infected with the virus over an eight-week period.

There are more than 1,000 positive cases and 19 deaths related to the novel coronavirus in California so far, according to a continuous Los Angeles Times survey of numbers released by local health agencies across the state.

Local residents wait in lines outside a Costco supermarket in Los Angeles, the United States, March 14, 2020. U.S.  (Photo by Qian Weizhong/Xinhua)

Local residents wait in lines outside a Costco supermarket in Los Angeles, the United States, March 14, 2020. U.S. (Photo by Qian Weizhong/Xinhua)

The governor therefore requested an immediate deployment of the USNS Mercy, a U.S. Navy hospital ship, to the Port of Los Angeles through Sept. 1 to help decompress the state’s health care delivery system in Los Angeles in response to COVID-19.

“Our state and health care delivery system are significantly impacted by the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases. In the last 24 hours, we had 126 new COVID-19 cases, a 21 percent increase,” Newsom wrote.

“In some parts of our state, our case rate is doubling every four days. Moreover, we have community acquired transmission in 23 counties with an increase of 44 community acquired infections in 24 hours,” he wrote, adding the “population density in the Los Angeles Region is similar to New York City, will be disproportionately impacted by the number of COVID-19 cases.”

A staff member disinfects the handles of shopping trolleys outside a Costco supermarket in Los Angeles, the United States, March 14, 2020. (Photo by Qian Weizhong/Xinhua)

A staff member disinfects the handles of shopping trolleys outside a Costco supermarket in Los Angeles, the United States, March 14, 2020. (Photo by Qian Weizhong/Xinhua)

Los Angeles County Health Officer Thursday evening issued a so-called “safer at home” public order, requiring not only its 10 million population to stay at home but most businesses to close.

The order, which goes into effect in the U.S. most populous county at midnight Thursday through April 19, prohibits indoor malls, shopping centers, playgrounds and non-essential retail businesses, and prohibits gathering in enclosed spaces of more than 10 people.

Similar to the “shelter in place” order instituted in at least 17 counties of Northern California earlier this week, the order allows restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, food banks, farmers markets, convenience stores, and other food businesses, which are considered “essential businesses” to continue to operate under a delivery or takeout model.

In a press conference within the same hour when Newsom gave a statewide stay-at-home order, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti emphasized that this is a health emergency and nobody is on lockdown, insisting that “this is not a shelter-in-place. It’s a ‘stay at home.'”

“Today is a day that will be seared into the story and the streets of this city,” he said. “It will be a moment when everything changed.”

The order of the county was announced after a second person died for coronavirus in the county Thursday, and an additional 40 cases were reported in the county, bringing the total to 230 patients.

 

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