Coronavirus prompts Los Angeles mayor to order residents to stay home

Dubbed “Safer at Home,” the order takes effect after midnight on Thursday and runs through March 31.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an emergency order on Thursday requiring city residents to stay indoors as officials seek to slow the spread of coronavirus.

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Dubbed “Safer at Home,” the order takes effect after midnight on Thursday and runs through March 31. Residents must stay inside and limit all nonessential outdoor activities. Non-essential retail businesses must close.

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"Los Angeles, this our moment to lead with love and protect those lives that mean everything to us," Garcetti said at a press conference announcing the decision. "This is not a request, this is an order."

Permitted activities under the “Safer at Home” order include trips to the grocery store or pharmacy, walks, bike rides, exercise, medical appointments, pet-related outings and trips to help those in need get supplies. Residents who do venture outside must stay at least six feet away from each other.

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Banned activities include social visits, going to work and non-essential travel of any kind.

“This Order is being issued now because the infection rates in the area have reached a level that means the situation is either critical or will be soon,” city officials said on a website detailing the order. “The spread has to be stopped immediately. Now is the time to take the strongest action possible to avoid allowing the disease to reach the point in the next few weeks that may overwhelm the healthcare system.”

Los Angeles County officials have reported 230 individual confirmed cases of coronavirus and at least two deaths. The state of California reported a total of 18 deaths as of Thursday night, according to a Johns Hopkins University database.

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Earlier on Thursday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he asked President Trump to divert a U.S. Navy medical ship to the port of Los Angeles to boost the state’s capacity to handle an influx of patients. Newsom warned that 56 percent of California’s population, or 25.5 million people, could contract coronavirus within the next eight weeks.

Newsom also asked U.S. lawmakers to approve $1 billion in funds to aid California’s efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak.

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