California hits ’emergency brake’ to curb Covid-19 surge

California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a series of “emergency brake” measures to contain the Covid-19 resurgence, which was “simply without precedent in the state’s pandemic history”.

According to a statement issued by Newsom’s office on Monday, 41 of California’s total 58 counties, which comprise over 94 per cent of the state’s population, would be labelled as the ‘purple tier’ and measures against the pandemic corresponding to the level could be effective Tuesday, reports Xinhua news agency.

Last week, 13 counties were in the state’s most restrictive tier.

When counties are in the ‘purple tier’, indoor operations for places like museums, houses of worship, gyms and restaurants are not allowed.

The state authority usually adjusted its county tiering system on Tuesdays, however, Newsom noted that the government must accelerate the assessment procedure due to the “Covid-19 cases sharply increase across the country and California”.

The Governor disclosed that the number of confirmed cases had doubled in the past week, with 10,968 new cases on Monday, saying that is the fastest rate of rise the state had seen during the pandemic.

He also said that there had been a 48 per cent increase in hospital beds occupied by coronavirus patients in the past two weeks alone while the number of ICU patients with the fatal disease had risen 38 per cent over the same period.

“We are sounding the alarm,” the statement said, adding: “California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet – faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer.

“The spread of Covid-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes.”

The statement indicated that California is also strengthening its face covering guidance to require individuals to wear a mask whenever outside their home, with limited exceptions.

California’s overall caseload and death toll has increased to more than 1,400,000 and 18,277, respectively.

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