New York Governor Andrew Cuomo shuts down entire state as coronavirus cases rocket past 7,000

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has effectively ordered everyone in his state to shelter in place as coronavirus diagnoses rocketed to 7,102 statewide.

Governor Cuomo announced Friday that all workers bar those whose jobs are considered ‘essential’ must now work from home. He went on to announce the latest diagnosis figure, and said it was so high because testing had been ‘ramped up’ to levels higher than those seen in hotspots China and South Korea.

He said: ‘We’re all in quarantine now. It’s going to be hard.’ Cuomo also announced a ban on any residential or commercial evictions for 90 days in a bid to protect renters and businesses across New York State.

Commenting on the huge diagnosis numbers, which are almost seven times those of the next-nearest worst-hit state, Washington, said of the numbers: ‘It was the reality. The tests are just demonstrating what was.’

Cuomo said 18% of people diagnoses with coronavirus required hospital treatment, and warned the state’s entire hospital system could soon be overwhelmed with cases.

Previously, he’d allowed non-essential businesses to let half their staff remain in the office, and later cut the amount permitted to work in offices to a quarter of their usual staff, before today’s draconian order.

Cuomo said: ‘Only essential businesses can have workers commuting to the job or in the job.

‘Remain indoors to protect physical and mental health. This is the most drastic action we can take.’

Governor Cuomo said grocery stores, banks and pharmacies would remain open. New York City’s subway system will also continue to function so key workers including police officers, doctors, nurses and shop workers can continue to travel to work.

He said people were allowed to go outside, but only to visit the grocery store, or exercise solo. Cuomo hit out at groups of friends drinking in parks or playing sports together, and warned younger New Yorkers not to assume that the virus would not infect or harm them

The governor conceded that the order would ’cause disruption, cause businesses to close, employees to stay home and much unhappiness,’ but said it was necessary to try and ‘flatten the curve’ of coronavirus diagnoses to stagger the number of people requiring hospital treatment.

Developing story, more to follow

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