Sunday, April 21, 2024

Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in New York

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New York – Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday imposed a new round of restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as the infection rate climbed and hospitlisations soared in the state that was the epicentre of the United States outbreak in its early stages.

Cuomo ordered bars, restaurants and gyms in the state to shut down on-premises services at 10 p.m. nightly, and capped the number of people who could attend private parties at ten.

“We’re seeing a national and global COVID surge, and New York is a ship on the COVID tide,” the governor told reporters, adding that contact tracing identified late-night gatherings at bars, restaurants and gyms as key virus spreaders in the state.

The new measures, which take effect on Friday, came a day after California and several states across the Midwest tightened restrictions on residents to try to curb the rapid spread of the virus.

“This is our LAST chance to stop a second wave,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on Wednesday, as he announced the city-wide seven-day average rate of coronavirus tests coming back positive had hit 2.52 per cent.

The city’s public school system, the nation’s largest, would be shut to in-person learning if that figure reaches three per cent.

As COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths surge across the United States, more signs emerged that a second wave could engulf areas of the Northeast, which had managed to bring the pandemic under control after being battered last spring.

The United States as a whole reported more than 1 450 deaths on Tuesday, the highest single-day count since mid-August, according to a Reuters analysis.

US COVID-19 cases climbed for seven consecutive days to reach more than 136 000 as of late Tuesday, while hospitalisations crossed 60 000 for the first time since the pandemic began, threatening to overwhelm systems in many parts of the country.

In New Jersey, one of the early US hotspots, a spike in cases in Newark – the state’s largest city – prompted Mayor Ras Baraka to implement aggressive measures, including a mandatory curfew for certain areas.

The positivity rate in Newark hovered at 19 per cent, more than double the state’s 7.74 per cent seven-day average, Baraka said in a statement on Tuesday. The World Health Organisation has said anything over five per cent is concerning.

“Stricter measures are required in the city’s hotspots in order to contain the virus and limit the spread,” he said.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Monday announced restrictions similar to those in New York in response to a rise in COVID-19 cases in the state, and outbreaks among bartenders. (Reuters)

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