Left Menu
Development News Edition

Texas governor Abbott orders wearing of masks in effort to avoid lockdown

Wearing face coverings to slow the spread of the coronavirus is unpopular among Abbott's conservative Republican base in Texas, but he said in a video released on Thursday that the action was now absolutely necessary. "In the past few weeks, there has been a swift and substantial spike in coronavirus cases," Abbott said.

Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 03-07-2020 03:22 IST | Created: 03-07-2020 03:17 IST
Texas governor Abbott orders wearing of masks in effort to avoid lockdown
Representative image Image Credit: Pexels

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday decreed that face masks must be worn in all counties with over 20 coronavirus cases, billing the measure as a requirement to avoid another economic shutdown. Wearing face coverings to slow the spread of the coronavirus is unpopular among Abbott's conservative Republican base in Texas, but he said in a video released on Thursday that the action was now absolutely necessary.

"In the past few weeks, there has been a swift and substantial spike in coronavirus cases," Abbott said. "We need to refocus on slowing the spread. But this time, we want to do it without closing down Texas again." Face masks must be used in all public buildings and outside when social distancing of at least six feet (2 meters) cannot be maintained, the governor said. Those violating the order will be given one warning. After that, they can be issued a fine of up to $250. Nobody can be jailed for defying the order, he said.

About a third of the 254 counties in Texas have reported fewer than 20 coronavirus cases - making them exempt from the order. The governor also gave local authorities the ability to ban outdoor gatherings of more than 10 people.

On Sunday, a far-right anti-mask rally was held on the grounds of the Texas Capitol attended by about 150 people. After avoiding major outbreaks in April and May, Texas has become a coronavirus hotspot. It reported nearly 8,000 new infections on Thursday.

The rate of people testing positive for the virus has gone from 4.5% in late May to 14%, Abbott said. Hospitalizations averaged less than 1,700 per day in late May. By Thursday it was about 5,700 daily. "These spikes are not just limited to the big cities," Abbott said. "Ninety-one counties had record high numbers (of cases) in the past three days."

Abbott's order marks a major reversal. For over two months, he ignored calls by the Democratic leaders of Texas' metropolitan areas to mandate mask wearing. He refused to allow leaders in Houston to enforce their own face-covering mandate with penalties, undercutting their ability to slow the spread of the virus. Hospital officials in Houston have said intensive care beds there are now in short supply.

Abbott said he is not issuing a stay-at-home order, but is asking people to remain home if at all possible. "We must do more to slow the spread without locking Texas back down," Abbott said. "We are now at a point where the virus is spreading so fast, there is little margin for error."


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

3D printing and the future of manufacturing post COVID-19

The on-demand, customizable, and localized manufacturing of product components facilitated by 3D printing has the potential to redefine manufacturing but there are certain technical, mechanical, and legal limitations that, unless ...

How UK’s 'best prepared' healthcare system failed to gauge COVID-19

The UK is proud of their public health system and its unlike any other country as around 90 percent of British public supports the founding principles of National Health Service. But without accurate data being available to stakeholders in ...

Poor on IHR capacity progress in 2019, WHO says Cambodia tops COVID-19 response

Despite being in proximity to Hubei, the original epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic, Cambodia has reported just 226 confirmed cases and zero deaths. After seeing the data, WHO appreciated Cambodias healthcare information system but experts dou...

Loopholes in Healthcare Information System may have failed Singapore COVID-19 model

In the initial days of the COVID-19 outbreak, Singapore was in the limelight for its effective healthcare system and pandemic response plan. However, Singapore has now joined the list of the worst-hit nations and the situation is even worse...

Videos

Latest News

COVID-19: 'Friends' reunion special shoot delayed again

The much-awaited reunion special episode of the famous 90s sitcom Friends is once again being delayed owing to the coronavirus pandemic which is impacting the physical production. According to Variety, the filming dates are yet to be determ...

Australian state records 466 cases, 12 deaths

The Australian state of Victoria recorded 466 new cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths, including another man in his 30s. The figures were released as the city of Melbourne remained in lockdown and under an overnight curfew. Victoria Premier Dan...

12th-seeded Blackhawks eliminate Oilers in Game 4

Dominik Kubalik scored the go-ahead goal with 1130 left in the third period, and the Chicago Blackhawks held on for a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night to close out a best-of-five qualifying series in four games and advance t...

Betts belts homer to help Dodgers roll past Giants

Mookie Betts hit a home run while making his first start in five days and the Los Angeles Dodgers rolled to a 7-2 victory Friday against the visiting San Francisco Giants. Max Muncy, Will Smith and Edwin Rios also hit home runs as the Dodge...

Give Feedback