Texas governor warns coronavirus outbreak has taken ‘very dangerous turn’

The governor of Texas has warned the coronavirus outbreak in the state has taken a “very swift and very dangerous turn”.

Greg Abbott was joined at a news conference by US Vice President Mike Pence who strongly recommended that Texans follow local coronavirus rules on wearing masks.

Mr Pence has been forced to cancel re-election campaign events due to the virus.

The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country rose to more than 2.5 million on Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University, which puts the global figure at more than 10 million.

HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 22: Governor Greg Abbott of Texas addresses the crowd before President Donald Trump took the stage for a rally in support of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on October 22, 2018 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Cruz, the incumbent, is seeking Senate re-election in a high-profile race against Democratic challenger Beto O'Rourke. (Photo by Loren Elliott/Getty Images)
Image:Governor Greg Abbott says he relaxed the lockdown too soon

The latest data also shows more than 125,000 Americans have so far died as a result of the pandemic, the highest number of known deaths of any nation.

Texas had been at the forefront of states letting people get back to work.

But now Governor Abbott has ordered bars across the state to close and required restaurants to limit indoor seating, acknowledging that in hindsight he had opened bars too soon.

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It comes after Texas has seen a rise in the number of coronavirus cases rise from around 2,000 a day to more than 5,000 a day.

“COVID-19 has taken a very swift and very dangerous turn in Texas over just the past few weeks,” he said.

In California, a number of bars have been ordered to close as coronavirus cases again surge in America, with more than 3,861 cases reported in the state on Saturday.

Governor Gavin Newsom has told bars to shut in seven counties, including Los Angeles, in a major rollback of efforts to restart the economy.

Coronavirus: Infection numbers in real time

Coronavirus: Infection numbers in real time

The rise in cases has been seen most in a handful of southern and western states that reopened earlier and more quickly.

In contrast, New York and its neighbouring north-eastern states, which were initially hit hardest, have reported a fall in cases and are pressing ahead with reopening plans.

In Florida, more beaches will be closing again to avoid further spread of the virus in a bid to stop large gatherings.

The state’s governor Ron DeSantis said interactions among young people had driven a surge in recent cases.

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Coronavirus: Trump refuses to wear face mask

Kami Kim, director of the division of infectious disease and international medicine at the University of South Florida, said some states’ leaders had claimed victory too soon after lockdowns started to be lifted in early May, amid conflicting messages on face coverings.

She said: “It was just complete denial by a huge swathe of the politicians.

“Unfortunately, our community still isn’t taking it very seriously. People aren’t wearing masks.”

Despite the spike in cases, Governor DeSantis has not bowed to pressure to issue statewide mandates on wearing masks, opting to leave the decision to local areas.

He blamed the rise in infections on young people interacting more in the last few weeks, pointing out they faced lower risk of dying than older people.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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