Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Minnesota, US, extend orders requiring residents to stay at home, nonessential businesses to close until at least May 4.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Rochester, Minnesota
  • St. Cloud, Minnesota
  • Duluth, Minnesota
  • Thief River Falls, Minnesota
  • Hibbing, Minnesota
  • Redwood Falls, Minnesota
  • Marshall, Minnesota
  • Mankato, Minnesota
  • Park Rapids, Minnesota

This alert began 08 Apr 2020 20:37 GMT and is scheduled to expire 04 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 Restrictions
  • Location(s): Minnesota (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 4
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Minnesota Governor Tim Walsh extended orders requiring residents to stay at home except to perform essential tasks and nonessential businesses to close until at least May 4, as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The orders stipulate that residents can leave their homes only to obtain basic goods, attend to a medical issue, perform recreational outdoor activities while maintaining a proper distance from others, care for a person in need, or go to work at an essential business or service. Residents may also move to a new home, or attend a funeral as long as there are not more than 10 people present. Authorities also extended the closure of nonessential businesses until at least May 4. Among the services and businesses that may remain open to in-person operations are grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, shelters, as well as media, energy, transport, security, and manufacturing companies.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will certainly deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the orders in short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Minnesota authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

Governor of Minnesota - Stay at Home Order: https://mn.gov/covid19/faq/

Minnesota Department of Health: www.health.state.mn.us