Major streets and highways were deserted in many parts of the world Saturday as curfews and lockdowns multiplied in the face of a rapidly advancing virus that is severely straining many health systems.
Three American states with a combined population of 70 million are moving to restrict residents to their homes. California started Friday and New York and Illinois were to follow this weekend. Connecticut and Oregon were preparing to do the same.
Once bustling outdoor plazas fell quiet in Bavaria after it became the first German state to tell people to stay home, except to go to work, buy food, visit the doctor or exercise. Colombia became the latest South American country to announce a lockdown, and Sri Lanka closed all expressways for a weekend curfew.
With hospitals already under pressure, officials in many countries are desperate to prevent — or at least limit — a repeat of what has happened in China and southern Europe. The coronavirus outbreak overwhelmed medical services in the central Chinese city of Wuhan earlier this year and now is pushing them to the limit in Italy and Spain. Britain has asked 65,000 retired nurses and doctors to return to work.
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