Coronavirus: Governor closes all roads to city after Covid-19 surge

‘The county has reported an additional 207 positive cases in the last two days alone’

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New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has​ put the city of Gallup into lockdown, to stop the spread of Covid-19, after a surge in cases this week.

On Thursday, his last day in office, Gallup mayor Jackie McKinney asked the governor to invoke the Riot Control Act, which closes all the roads into the city and puts restrictions on resident’s movements, after the area became badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr McKinney’s successor as mayor of the city, Louie Bonaguidi, asked the same on Friday morning in a letter to the governor, after Gallup had recorded 207 positive cases in just two days.

According to the New Mexico Department of Health, McKinley County, where Gallup is located, has upwards of 1,027 positive cases of coronavirus and 19 deaths.

This is the most cases of any county in the state, which currently has 3,411 positive cases and 123 deaths overall.

On Friday afternoon, Ms Grisham, a Democrat, announced that the order had been issued and that all roads to Gallup were closed until 4 May, alongside other restrictions.

“Effective at 12 p.m., May 1, all roads into Gallup are closed. Businesses in the city of Gallup will close from 5 p.m. through 8 a.m,” a press release accompanying the announcement read.

“Vehicles may only have a maximum of two individuals. Residents of the city should remain at home except for emergency outings and those essential for health, safety and welfare.”

Ms Grisham added that the decision to close the roads to the city was made, as “its infection trend has shown no sign of flattening.

“The county has reported an additional 207 positive cases in the last two days alone, more than every other county in the state has reported total over the length of the pandemic save three,” the release read.

Before his term as mayor of Gallup ended on Thursday, Mr McKinney wrote to the governor, and said that the the city does not have the resources to adequately tackle the outbreak, an argument echoed by Mr Bonaguidi on Friday.

“The virus has caused many deaths, stretched medical facilities and resources to their capacity, and adversely impacted the welfare of the city of Gallup,” Mr McKinney wrote.

“Our community is unable to adequately address the outbreak without the imposition of certain restrictions necessary to regulate social distancing, public gatherings, sales of good, and the use of public streets.”

In his letter on Friday, Mr Bonaguidi said: “The Covid-19 outbreak in the city of Gallup is a crisis of the highest order. Immediate action is necessary,” he added.

According to a tracking project hosted by Johns Hopkins University, there are now upwards of one million people who have tested positive for coronavirus in the US. The death toll has reached at least 64,203.

New Mexico has seen at least 3,411 confirmed cases and 123 deaths.

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