Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Mississippi, US, extend orders requiring residents to stay home, nonessential businesses to close through April 27.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Gulfport-Biloxi, Mississippi
  • Greenville, Mississippi
  • Hattiesburg, Mississippi
  • Pascagoula, Mississippi
  • Tupelo, Mississippi
  • Columbus-Starkville, Mississippi
  • Meridian, Mississippi

This alert began 20 Apr 2020 17:54 GMT and is scheduled to expire 27 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 Restrictions
  • Location(s): Mississippi (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 27
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves extended an executive order requiring residents to stay at home, except to perform essential tasks, and nonessential businesses to close through at least April 27 as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The order, which was originally set to expire April 20, stipulates that residents may only leave their homes to obtain essential goods, attend to a medical issue, care for a person in need, or perform outdoor recreational activities while maintaining a proper distance from others. People may only leave their residences to go to work at an essential business or service, including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, fuel stations, and energy, manufacturing, security, transport, and health companies. All gatherings of 10 people or more are banned.

Nonessential businesses may operate only with their employees working from their homes. Additionally, starting April 20, authorities will allow some nonessential businesses to provide delivery and pickup services, including retail stores and salons that wish to sell their supplies. Officials have also reopened state lakes for individual fishing from boats. Beaches and parks will remain closed, except for walking trails.

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

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Mississippi 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 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

State of Mississippi - COVID-19 Updates: https://www.coronavirus.ms.gov/

Governor of Mississippi - Shelter-in-Place Order: www.sos.ms.gov/

Governor of Mississippi - Shelter-in-Place Extension: https://mcusercontent.com/