On Sunday, March 15, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that all nightclubs, cinemas, theaters, and concert venues will be closed and restaurants will be limited to takeout and delivery to prevent further spread of the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that casinos, gyms, and movie theaters in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey states will be closed from 20:00 (local time) on Monday, March 16, and that gatherings of more than 50 people will be banned until further notice.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a similar directive on Sunday, ordering bars, nightclubs, entertainment venues, gyms, and restaurants (with the exception of takeout and delivery) to close from midnight on Monday. California state Governor Gavin Newsom called for a statewide closure of all bars, nightclubs, wineries, and brewpubs on Sunday.
Further closures and restrictions are possible in the US over the near term. To date, there have been over 3000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US, including more than 60 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.
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.
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, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.
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