Washington extends stay-at-home order till May 4

Washington, April 3
Washington state Governor Jay Inslee announced a month-long extension of his "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" emergency order till May 4 to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The order bans all gatherings and temporarily shutters non-essential businesses, Xinhua news agency reported.

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The state's Department of Commerce is providing guidance and assistance to businesses on whether they can be considered essential.

"Epidemiological modelling from the University of Washington predicts we will have at least 1,400 deaths this year," Inslee said on Thursday.

"We are yet to see the full toll of this virus in our state and the modelling we've seen could be much worse if we don't continue what we're doing to slow the spread.

"We have taken dozens of steps under my emergency powers to help people in this time - including moratoriums on evictions, mortgage forbearance, utility ratepayer assistance, unemployment extensions, flexibility on tax payments and cash assistance to families," Inslee said.

In addition to the extension of the order, Inslee signed a directive to secure personal protective equipment as expeditiously as possible.

On Thursday, the state confirmed a total of 6,585 cases and 262 fatalities.

Also on Thursday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced the extension of the stay-at-home order through the end of April.

According to the order, residents should stay at home unless going out for essential tasks, including trips to the grocery store and pharmacy.

"This order will close additional non-essential businesses but keep open gas stations and pharmacies that are providing critical services. Restaurants will still be allowed to have carry-out and drive-thru takeout meals," Edwards said.

"In the last two weeks, our growth rate (of confirmed COVID-19 cases) has been faster than any other state or country in the world. That is why it matters," he said, explaining the reason for the order extension.

According to the state's department of health, 9,150 cases and 310 deaths have been reported in Louisiana so far.

The US currently has the highest number of cases in the world at 245,213, with 5,983 fatalities.