California orders its nearly 40 million residents to stay home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus

(CNN) – The most populous state of U.S it ordered its nearly 40 million residents to stay in their homes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s order represents the first mandatory state restrictions issued in the United States to help combat the outbreak. Scheduled to take effect Thursday at midnight, it includes waivers for essential services like public safety and medical care.

Nineteen people have died and more than 900 have tested positive for coronavirus in California. The restrictions, which will remain in effect until further notice, come a day after Newsom warned that more than half the state is projected to catch the virus in two months.

(Photo by APU GOMES / AFP via Getty Images)

Essential services will be open

Under the order, essential services such as gas stations, pharmacies, supermarkets, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores and restaurants with home delivery service will remain open. So will banks, local government offices that provide services, and law enforcement agencies.

Non-essential services such as restaurants, bars, gyms and convention centers will be closed.

The Governor requests a medical ship from the US Navy. USA

Newsom’s order comes after asking President Donald Trump to send a Navy medical ship to provide more health care options for the state, warning that more than half of California’s population could become infected within two months.

“We project that approximately 56% of our state’s population (25.5 million people) will become infected with the virus over an eight-week period,” he said in a letter Wednesday to Trump asking him to send the USNS Mercy Hospital ship to port. from Los Angeles for use through September 1.

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California has been assisting people returning to the United States from abroad and needs the San Diego-based ship to help “unzip” its healthcare system as infection rates soar, Newsom wrote. He warned that infection rates double every four days in some parts of the state.

Social distance

Even with the order, California residents can participate in some activities as long as people maintain social distance, he said.

“Follow the essential patterns of life, but do it by distancing yourself socially from others and using common sense,” Newsom said. “Home insulation is not my preferred option, but it is necessary. This is not a permanent state, it is just a moment in time. “

The order will not be forcibly imposed by the police, he added.

“I don’t think the people of California need the police to tell them that it’s appropriate to isolate themselves in their homes and protect themselves,” Newsom said. “We are confident that the people of the state of California will abide by it and do the right thing.”

Before Newsom’s announcement, other counties in Los Angeles and the Bay Area had issued similar mandates.

CNN’s Jon Passantino contributed to this report.

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