VIRGINIA residents have been ordered to "stay at home" until June 10 in what appears to be the longest coronavirus lockdown in the country.
Governor Ralph Northam confirmed the decision was "effective immediately" on Monday afternoon after COVID-19 cases surged to 1,021 in-state and 405 in Washington DC.
“We are in a public health crisis, and we need everyone to take this seriously and act responsibly,” Northam said in a statement. “Our message to Virginians is clear: stay home.
"We know this virus spreads primarily through human-to-human contact, and that’s why it’s so important that people follow this order and practice social distancing.
"I’m deeply grateful to everyone for their cooperation during this unprecedented and difficult time.”
The mandate allows people to leave their house for necessities like groceries, medicine, essential work, and "outdoor activity with strict social distancing requirements."
Maryland enacted a similar measure on Monday after 1,414 cases emerged – upping the total deaths in Virginia, the District, and the Old Line State to 51 as of March 30, reports the Washington Post.
Governor Larry Hogan said "we are no longer asking or suggesting Maryland residents stay home, we are DIRECTING them to do so" as of 8pm tonight.
"As we have previously stated, no Marylander should be traveling outside of the state unless such travel is absolutely necessary. If you have traveled outside of the state, you should self-quarantine for 14 days," he tweeted.
Hogan said violations of the order can be punished with a misdemeanor charge as cases top 1,400 in Maryland.
The news comes after President Trump extended the coronavirus emergency measures until April 30.
He had previously hoped the country would be back in business by Easter Sunday before White House expert Dr Fauci described this as an "aspirational hope" given the surging numbers.
"We had an aspiration of Easter," the president told reporters at a coronavirus briefing after the US had rapidly become the global epicenter.
"But when you hear this kind of numbers and you hear the potential travesty we don't want to do anything where, you know – we don't want to have a spike up."'
Well over half the population are now living in emergency zones after Kansas and Alabama both received a "disaster" declaration today.
This will give federal funding to state, local, and tribal governments amid the COVID-19 pandemic and means more than 176 million people are living in hard-hit areas.
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