The United States warned Americans to return home or stay abroad indefinitely on Thursday, while Senate Republicans unveiled a $ 1 trillion economic stimulus package to provide funds directly to businesses and the public American, while the number of cases of coronavirus in the country has exceeded 13,000.
Authorities are stepping up measures to prevent the virus from spreading, but Washington may announce travel restrictions across the US-Mexico border as early as Friday, restricting travel to essential travel, two officials said. This would follow a similar measure Wednesday closing the border with Canada.
Fast-spread respiratory disease has upset most of the patterns of American life: closing schools and businesses, enticing millions to work at home, forcing many jobs, and severely restricting travel.
“If you choose to travel abroad, your travel plans can be severely disrupted and you may be forced to stay outside the United States for an indefinite period,” said the United States Department of State.
At the same time, the Trump administration has said it does not rule out a temporary halt to all air travel by American passengers.
“Everything is on the table,” Deborah Birx, White House coordinator for the coronavirus task force, told Fox News Channel.
On Thursday, the United States Senate released details of a more than $ 1 trillion coronavirus bill to help the US economy weather the effects of the growing outbreak. President Donald Trump has eagerly requested this package.
This would be Congress’s third emergency coronavirus bill following a $ 105 billion plan covering free coronavirus testing, paid sick leave and increased spending on safety net, and a $ 8.3 billion measure to combat the spread of the highly contagious pathogen and develop vaccines.
Trump, speaking with several state governors via video conference from the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the government would help the U.S. auto industry a little. He could also consider a rescue program for the hospitality industry, he said.
The falling stock market and rising death toll in the United States have caused Trump to radically change his tone about the disease this week, demanding urgent action after spending weeks minimizing the risks.
More than 13,000 people across the United States have been diagnosed with the disease called COVID-19 and more than 196 have died, with the highest numbers to date in Washington State and New York.
Two Los Angeles Lakers players have coronavirus, the NBA franchise said on Thursday after four Brooklyn Nets players tested positive for the disease a day earlier.
Washington state reported eight more deaths from the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, bringing the death toll to 74, the highest of any state in the United States.
New York State tested 8,000 patients overnight and ordered three-quarters of state workers to work from home, while officials in New York and neighboring New Jersey said they would expected the number of cases in these states to reach thousands.
“We don’t have the results of the 8,000 tests, but when you do 8,000 tests, the numbers will increase exponentially,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told CNN.
There is no approved treatment or vaccine for COVID-19, but several options are being tested.
New York City a “ghost town” after dark
New York City, where many young people filled up with local bars and restaurants this past weekend, was strangely deserted after dark.
“It’s a skater’s dream,” said Dyanna Hernandez, 20, who had joined a dozen friends in Union Square in Manhattan to enjoy the freedom of what she called a “ghost town” after three days at home. “I can’t really be quarantined.”
With the United States slow to launch mass tests for the virus that has infected more than 244,000 people worldwide, officials fear that the number of known cases of respiratory disease that can lead to pneumonia is far behind the reality.
The epidemic, which has so far killed more than 10,000 people worldwide, has drawn comparisons to traumatic periods such as the Second World War, the 2008 financial crisis and the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.
The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits has increased the most since 2012 to a peak of 2.5 years last week, as businesses in the service sector laid off workers and businesses closed in because of the pandemic.
One area where employees were busy – and unable to work from home security – was the country’s 3 million janitors, housekeepers and maids, who are on the front lines of the war on the virus, often working at night and on weekends clean offices, airports and hotels.
“Everyone is scared,” said Ali, who works for ABM, a maintenance and cleaning company that employs more than 140,000 people. “We just keep going, do what we can.”