California took a big step back in reopening its economy on Wednesday as Gov. Gavin Newsom shut down bars, wineries, museums, movie theaters and inside restaurant dining across most of the state for three weeks amid troubling increases in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
The order affects Los Angeles and 18 other counties where nearly three-quarters of the state’s roughly 40 million people live. The impacted counties are those seeing the most serious uptick in infections, and include almost all of Southern California, though not San Diego, which is faring better.
“The bottom line is the spread of this virus continues at a rate that is particularly concerning,” Newsom said.
To encourage greater adherence to health rules, Newsom also said the state is creating “strike teams” of state regulators to more aggressively go after non-compliant businesses. He also is limiting beach access and imposed statewide changes for religious services — no more singing or chanting — and at gyms, where people now must wear masks while working out.
For the two weeks ended Monday, California’s confirmed coronavirus cases increased 45% to nearly a quarter-million and hospitalizations increased 52% to 5,077. About 500 more patients were sick enough for intensive care treatment, bringing the state total to 1,528 in ICUs.
The state’s worst outbreak is in Imperial County, an agricultural center along the border with Mexico. Infection rates are 20% — more than double the state average — and hospitals are overwhelmed.
Last week the state took the unprecedented step of ordering Imperial officials to come up with a new health order and on Wednesday the most restrictive plan in California was approved — it bars non-essential gatherings of any size, shopping in stores and indoor religious ceremonies.
Source by: www.hindustantimes.com