Covid19 News

Coronavirus Live Updates: Most Americans Now Under Orders to Stay Home

To fight the pandemic, leaders worldwide are invoking executive powers and seizing virtually dictatorial authority with scant resistance.

Israel’s prime minister has shut down courts and begun an intrusive surveillance of citizens. Chile has sent the military to public squares once occupied by protesters. Bolivia has postponed elections. In Hungary, the prime minister can now rule by decree.

In some parts of the world, new emergency laws have revived old fears of martial law. The Philippine Congress passed legislation last week that gave President Rodrigo Duterte emergency powers and $5.4 billion to deal with the pandemic.

Even in robust democracies like Britain, ministers have what a critic called “eye-watering” power to detain people and close borders. Invasive surveillance systems in South Korea and Singapore, which would have invited censure under normal circumstances, have been praised for slowing infections.

Governments and rights groups agree that these extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and many of these actions are protected under international rules, constitutional lawyers say.

But critics say there are few safeguards to ensure that their new authority will not be abused.

“We could have a parallel epidemic of authoritarian and repressive measures following close if not on the heels of a health epidemic,” said Fionnuala Ni Aolain, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights.

While many states have issued stay-at-home directives to try to slow the virus’s spread — with Maryland, Virginia and Arizona becoming the latest to do so on Monday — in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, had resisted the step, favoring local action over statewide mandates.

But on Monday Mr. DeSantis said that he would sign an order codifying a patchwork of local rules urging residents in the densely-populated southeast corner of the state — including Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties — to stay home.

Local Florida governments have taken wildly different approaches to restricting interactions. While the city of Jacksonville shut down its beaches, St. Johns County to the south did not. A striking photo taken over the weekend showed bare beaches on one side of the county line and crowded sand on the other. (St. Johns County later closed its shoreline.)

Roughly three out of four Americans are or will soon be under instructions to stay indoors, as states and localities try to curb the spread of the coronavirus before their hospitals are overwhelmed.

Virginia and Maryland both issued new statewide orders on Monday, and Arizona’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey, directed his state’s residents to stay home until the end of April.

“We are no longer asking or suggesting that Marylanders stay home — we are directing them to do so,” Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican, said.

And in Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, ordered all residents to stay home, closing the state’s beaches and campgrounds and insisting that people only go out for food, supplies, work or medical care.

“I want everyone to hear me: Stay home,” Mr. Northam, a Democrat, said.

President Trump on Monday expressed optimism about the federal government’s ability to provide adequate testing for the coronavirus and suggested it would soon be producing so many ventilators, masks and other personal protective equipment that it would be able to send stocks of supplies to other countries.

America’s governors painted a different picture on the ground.

In a conference call with governors on Monday, President Trump said that he “hasn’t heard about testing in weeks,” suggesting that a chronic lack of kits to test people for the coronavirus is no longer a problem. Yet one governor said his state was “one day away” from not being able to test anyone at all.

Hours later, Mr. Trump’s comments at a White House Rose Garden news conference suggested he thought the scarcity of ventilators and other supplies, which has become an emergency in some states, will soon be ending.

But in New York, where the state’s deaths from the coronavirus jumped above 1,200 and a hospital ship arrived to ease the pressure on overwhelmed hospitals, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo warned that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak was yet to come.

“You have to prepare before the storm hits. And in this case the storm is when you hit that high point, when you hit that apex,” the governor said. “How do you know when you’re going to get there? You don’t.”

In Virginia, Maryland and Arizona, governors from both parties issued new stay-home orders for their citizens.

In Washington, the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency approval permitting the…

Source Website Coronavirus Live Updates: Most Americans Now Under Orders to Stay Home

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