New York state has joined California in telling its residents to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic, putting nearly 60 million on lockdown.
Earlier, California’s state governor Gavin Newsom issued a state-wide “stay at home” order, which took effect from Thursday evening and will remain in place until further notice.
He said the state needed to “recognise the reality” and “make tough decisions”, although conceded that home isolation was not his “preferred choice”.
‘They call it the apocalypse’
Inside Italy’s hospital hardest-hit by coronavirus
New York governor Andrew Cuomo also issued an executive order to state residents, meaning all non-essential workers must stay at home or cease working completely.
Mr Cuomo added that over-70s, or those with underlying health conditions, must stay at home, save for solo exercising.
Speaking to the people of New York, he pleaded with them to listen, saying: “Your actions can affect my health, that is where we are.”
The new restrictions will be enforced with fines and forced closure of businesses should they flout the rules.
More from Covid-19
Homemade solution to coronavirus from the ‘worst camp in the world’
PM will be defined by his leadership as Britain enters its darkest hour
Coronavirus: Britain’s economic heart attack has suspended capitalism as we know it
Coronavirus: ‘There are places you can trust’ – Minister warns against disinformation
Coronavirus: ‘Everyone dies alone’: Heartbreak at Italian hospital on brink of collapse
Coronavirus: ‘Uncertain and surreal’ – Emotions high as schools close over outbreak
The states of New York and California have been some of the hardest hit in the US, with combined confirmed cases of COVID-19 at more than 6,500, with 57 people having lost their lives.
California’s governor said modelling has shown 56% of California residents are expected to contract COVID-19 over the next eight weeks, requiring nearly 20,000 more hospital beds than the state can currently provide.
:: Listen to Divided States on Apple podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Spreaker
He also warned infection rates are doubling every four days in some parts of the state.
Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest city, is likely to be “disproportionately impacted” in the coming weeks, Mr Newsom added.
The latest developments across the world:
- Iran’s Mission to the United Nations has said the “inhumane and unlawful” US sanctions are hampering efforts to prevent COVID-19 cases in the country, urging the international community to help lift the sanctions
- Haiti has confirmed its first two cases of COVID-19 and announced it will close all airports, schools, factories and seaports
- Cannes Film Festival has been postponed, with organisers saying they are considering moving the festival to June or July
- South Korea will test all passengers coming from Europe for coronavirus and enforce two-week quarantines beginning on Sunday
- North Korea says it has released thousands of people from quarantine, although has not publicly confirmed a single case of COVID-19
- Australia has demanded indoor venues provide at least four square metres of space between each person and tightened regulations on travel to and from remote indigenous communities