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30 Mar 2020 | 07:30 AM UTC

US: Nationwide stay-at-home policy extended to April 30 /update 34

President Trump extends nationwide stay-at-home policy until April 30; follow authority directives

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Event

President Donald Trump has announced the extension of a nationwide stay-at-home and social distancing guideline through Thursday, April 30, amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The announcement was made following a medical adviser's warning that tens of thousands of Americans can die amid the outbreak. Additional information will be communicated on Tuesday, March 31.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advised residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days with immediate effect. The travel restriction does not apply to employees from critical infrastructure industries including public health, trucking, financial services, and food supply.

The following states have announced stay-at-home measures: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Separately, officials in Maryland, Nevada, Virginia, and Kentucky have ordered non-essential businesses to close, though stay-at-home measures do not yet apply. Meanwhile, the US-Canada border remains closed to all nonessential travel from 23:59 (local time) on 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 not affect trade.

Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.

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.