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COVID-19: Amid coronavirus concern Washington declares state of emergency

News Agencies | Updated on: 12 March 2020, 10:02 IST

Washington on Wednesday (local time) declared a state of emergency due to coronavirus outbreak in the city. The mayor of Washington, Muriel Bowser, made the announcement as the US capital confirmed 10 cases of the infection, Sputnik reported.

"Today, I want to announce that I am declaring both a state of emergency and a public health emergency in Washington DC," Bowser said at a briefing on Wednesday.

"This is an administrative action largely. It will give me more authority to implement and fund the measures that we need to monitor response to COVID-19 in our community," she added.

Bowser also said that the declaration gave her abilities to request US federal disaster assistance, mandate medical quarantines and outlaw price gouging.

Meanwhile, the city authorities recommended that non-essential gatherings of 1,000 or more people, including conferences and conventions, be postponed or cancelled through March 31.

Bowser said, "We also recommend that any social, cultural, entertainment events where large crowds are gathered also be reconsidered by their organisers. This is in effect through March 31."

The authorities have set up an emergency operation centre and are preparing for potential suspension of schooling.

On Wednesday, six additional novel coronavirus infections had been identified, bringing the total of presumptive cases in Washington DC to ten.

According to the latest data collected by Johns Hopkins University, more than 1,100 cases of novel coronavirus infections have been confirmed in the US and 32 people have died from the disease.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump is slated to address the nation at 6:30 am (IST). "I will be addressing the Nation this evening at 9:00 P.M. (Eastern) from the Oval Office.," he tweeted.


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First published: 12 March 2020, 10:02 IST