On Thursday, April 16, New York state governor Andrew Cuomo announced the extension of the state's shutdown measures until Friday, May 15, to prevent further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The East Coast states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Delaware are expected to extend their measures for the same period. Also on Thursday, Idaho state extended its stay-at-home orders through Thursday, April 30, and imposed a measure requiring any non-resident who enters the state to undergo a two-week self-quarantine. Los Angeles (California state) authorities announced on Friday, April 10, an extension to the current stay-at-home order until Friday, May 15.
Meanwhile, protesters gathered on the steps of the Capitol building in Austin (Texas state) on Saturday, April 18, in the latest of a series of nationwide demonstrations against the shutdown measures. Similar protests were reported between April 15-17 in California, Michigan, North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio, and Virginia. Protesters have been calling for the reopening of the economy and the end of stay-at-home measures.
United Airlines announced on Wednesday, April 15, that it will cut its flight schedule by 90 percent in May and expects similar cuts for June due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The airline stated that passenger levels were down 97 percent during the first two weeks of April compared to the same period last year.
As of Friday, March 20, the US-Canada border has been closed to all nonessential travel. On Saturday, April 18, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada and the US have agreed to extend the closure for an additional 30 days from April 20. The US and Mexico also closed their shared border to nonessential travel from Saturday, March 21; the border closure is set to expire on April 20, though it is unclear if the measure will be extended.
The US has the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths worldwide. As of Saturday, April 18, authorities have reported 712,946 confirmed cases and 37,298 deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
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, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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