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15 Apr 2020 | 02:58 AM UTC

US: Puerto Rico extends lockdown to May 3 /update 41

Puerto Rico extends ongoing lockdown to May 3 to curb spread of COVID-19; abide by all government directives

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USA

Event

Puerto Rican authorities extended an ongoing lockdown until Sunday, May 3, to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on Saturday, April 11. Non-essential businesses will remain closed and people will need to stay indoors from 21:00 to 05:00 (local time); residents may only leave their homes for essential goods and services. Those who defy the curfew face a USD 5000 fine or a six-month jail term. Face masks are mandatory when entering a business, and businesses reserve the right to turn customers away should they not wear masks.

Puerto Rico has at least 923 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 45 fatalities as of Thursday, April 15. Health officials have confirmed 608,458 cases of COVID-19 nationwide in the US, with 26,057 associated fatalities. New York remains the most affected state with 202,208 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 10,834 associated deaths. The US currently has the highest number of coronavirus-related fatalities in the world. Large-scale measures to mitigate the spread of the disease have been imposed on 42 of 50 states, which officials say could be extended unless the pandemic slows.

Most US states have implemented stay-at-home measures. President Donald Trump has announced the extension of a nationwide stay-at-home and social distancing guideline through Thursday, April 30. Meanwhile, the US-Canada border remains closed to all non-essential travel from Friday, March 20, until Monday, April 20. On the same date, authorities announced that the US and Mexico will also close their shared border to nonessential travel from Saturday, March 21; the border closures will reportedly not affect trade.

Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.