Month-long coronavirus quarantine begins in Washington, DC

Washington, DC, Mar 25 (EFE).- The United States’ capital Washington DC began a month-long quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday that will run until Apr. 24.

The quarantine, which was ordered by Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser, came into effect at 10 pm.

“This Mayor’s Order requires temporary closure of the on-site operation of all non-essential businesses and prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people,” said a statement.

Two hours before the start of the quarantine, the city’s government sent an alert to the residents, saying: “STAY HOME. You have a critical role to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in DC.”

The quarantine includes the closure of all non-essential businesses including tour guides and touring services, gyms, health clubs, theaters, auditoriums, nightclubs, hair, nail, and tanning salons and barbershops and retail clothing stores, among others.

Restaurants will only remain operational for delivery, while supermarkets, hospitals, pharmacies, liquor stores, banks, veterinary clinics, childcare facilities, mechanic shops and bicycle sales are some of the businesses that fall within the purview of essential businesses and will stay open.

Schools in the city were closed on Mar. 16.

The District of Colombia joins another 18 states that have already declared a quarantine and where about half of Americans live.

These include New York – the country’s main coronavirus hotspot – as well as California, Michigan, Colorado, New Jersey and Illinois.

There are 231 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Washington, DC – 48 of them in the last 24 hours – and three deaths.

The number of coronavirus cases in the US has already exceeded 66,000 while at least 944 people have died from the infectious disease.

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that he would like to “open up” the country by Apr. 12, which is Easter, apparently meaning he’d like the public to go back to work despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis, although individual states will have the final say on lockdown measures.

Trump’s remarks came amid mounting fears that the US economy could slide into a recession due to the coronavirus.

The quarantine orders also come amid negotiations in the Congress on the largest stimulus package in the country’s history to counteract the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, with an estimated value of $2 trillion. EFE-EPA


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