NEW YORK: "Shelter in Place" orders have been clamped on Silicon Valley, the home of tech giants like Google and Facebook, imposing one of the most stringent restrictions in the country on people's movement.
Health authorities in six counties in the centre of global technology innovation issued the orders which are almost like a lockdown on Monday as the threat of Covid-19 loomed across the country. Sara Cody, the health officer of Santa Clara County where Google is headquartered, said at a news conference that the orders requiring people to stay home and restrict businesses were needed because of "a tipping point here in Santa Clara County with exponential growth of our cases" of coronavirus.
The Silicon Valley area had 258 confirmed cases and at least three deaths as of Sunday. San Francisco Mayor London Breed said that a change in behaviour is needed to protect people against the coronavirus. US President Donald Trump at his news conference ruled out a national lockdown or quarantine "at this point."
Police and sheriffs have been asked to "ensure compliance" with the orders. Under the orders, employees of all the businesses that are not considered essential will have to work from home, except for those required to maintain them. Non-essential travel is banned, and those who leave home have to maintain a social distance a" about two metres - from others. However, walks, jogs and hikes are permitted. Stores, pharmacies, hardware stores and biotechnology companies will be open.
Breed said that people, who would be allowed to shop for their needs, would find the stores adequately supplied and there was no fear of shortages of essential goods. Restaurants will be allowed to only have takeout service. Essential government services will continue to be open and public transportation will operate in the area. San Mateo County, where Facebook is located, is also under the restrictions. (IANS)