California Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a stay-at-home executive order for the almost 40 million residents of the state, which also requires non-essential businesses to close, a measure aimed at combating the spread of the coronavirus.
Thursday night’s order comes at a time when the confirmed cases in the most populated state of the US have reached around 1,000 and 19 people have died, according to the media report.
“It’s time for all of us to recognize as individuals and as a community, we need to do more,” Newsom further added.
The measure requires California residents to stay at home “except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors”.
During a press briefing in Sacramento, the Governor said that he preferred to take drastic steps than expose the state to more serious infections.
The decision was taken after the Governor warned President Donald Trump that half the population of the state were likely to be infected by the virus in the coming months.
On Wednesday, Mario Diaz-Balart, a ninth-term Florida Republican said that he has tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the first American Congressman to contract the virus.
Earlier, President Donald Trump has tested negative for the novel coronavirus.
Trump agreed to the test after coming in contact with several members of a Brazilian presidential delegation visiting his Florida resort who have since tested positive for the virus.
Also on Wednesday, Democrat Representative from Utah Ben McAdams announced that he has tested positive for the virus which has so far infected over 8,700 people in the US and killed more than 130 others.
The Democrat said financial aid was critical to the state’s ability to acquire ventilators and other medical supplies, deploy mobile hospitals, and meet other health care needs of the Californians.
“The economic disruption caused by this public health crisis will have immediate and devastating effects on our entire country, including too many families in California,” he warned.
Minutes before Newsom’s order was issued, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and county supervisors announced a similar order for the closure of malls and all non-essential businesses.
“We need to be painfully honest. We’re about to enter a new way of living in Los Angeles for a period,” Garcetti said at a press conference.
California is one of the worst affected states in the US after New York and Washington.
Washington has the largest number of coronavirus deaths in the country, with 74, while New York has 29.
According to the latest update by Johns Hopkins University, there are currently more than 13,000 confirmed cases with 176 deaths in the US.
Meanwhile, Congress Representative Drew Ferguson said on Wednesday night that the House doctor had advised him to self-quarantine until March 27 because he “was in contact with a member of Congress on March 13th that has since tested positive for COVID-19”.
New York, the most populous US city, saw its first coronavirus death on Saturday, as store shelves were stripped bare after days of panic buying.
(With inputs from agency)