Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Pennsylvania, US, extend stay-at-home order to cover the entire state until at least April 30.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
  • Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
  • State College, Pennsylvania
  • Williamsport, Pennsylvania
  • Erie, Pennsylvania
  • Du Bois, Pennsylvania
  • Altoona, Pennsylvania
  • Johnstown, Pennsylvania
  • Hazelton, Pennsylvania
  • Bradford, Pennsylvania
  • Latrobe, Pennsylvania
  • Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

This alert began 02 Apr 2020 00:58 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 May 2020 03:59 GMT.

  • Event: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Pennsylvania (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 30
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, heightened security

Summary
On April 1, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf extended an existing stay-at-home order that originally applied to 33 of the commonwealth's 67 counties to cover the entirety of Pennsylvania as part of efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The order, which will remain valid until at least April 30, requires residents to remain at their homes except to perform essential tasks, such as obtain basic goods, care for a person in need, or travel to or from a place of employment defined as a "life-sustaining business." Residents may also perform outdoor activities, provided they comply with social distancing requirements. The statewide closure of schools and nonessential businesses has been extended until further notice.

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 on short notice, depending on the evolution of disease activity in the coming days and weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Pennsylvania 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
World Health Organization COVID-19 Knowledge Base: www.who.int

Pennsylvania Department of Health: www.health.pa.gov

Office of the Governor of Pennsylvania Stay-at-home Order Extension: www.governor.pa.gov