A month-long quarantine has come into effect in the US capital of Washington D.C. in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The quarantine, which was ordered by the capital city's Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser, came into effect at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, reports Efe news "This Mayor's Order requires temporary closure of the on-site operation of all non-essential businesses and prohibits gatherings of 10 or more people," said a statement from Bowser's office.
Two hours before the start of the quarantine, the city's government sent an alert to the residents, saying: "STAY HOME. You have a critical role to play in stopping the spread of COVID-19 in DC."
The quarantine includes the closure of all non-essential businesses including tour guides and touring services, gyms, health clubs, theaters, auditoriums, nightclubs, hair, nail, and tanning salons and barbershops and retail clothing stores, among others.
Restaurants will only remain operational for delivery, while supermarkets, hospitals, pharmacies, liquor stores, banks, veterinary clinics, childcare facilities, mechanic shops and bicycle sales are some of the businesses that fall within the purview of essential businesses and will stay open.
Schools in the city were closed on March 16.
The District of Colombia joins another 18 states that have already declared a quarantine and where about half of Americans live.
These include New York, the epidemic of the outbreak in the US, as well as California, Michigan, Colorado, New Jersey and Illinois.
There are 231 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Washington, D.C. - 48 of them in the last 24 hours - and three deaths.
The number of coronavirus cases in the US has increased to 69,018 with 1,042 deaths, according to the latest update by the Washington-based John Hopkins University.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump said that he would like to "open up" the country by April 12 on Easter, apparently meaning he'd like the public to go back to work despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis, although individual states will have the final say on lockdown measures.
Trump's remarks came amid mounting fears that the US economy could slide into a recession due to the coronavirus.