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Los Angeles to tighten pandemic restrictions amid COVID-19 surge

(Xinhua)    14:12, November 18, 2020

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) --Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States with a population of over 10 million, will tighten pandemic safeguards and restrictions amid COVID-19 surge, authorities said Tuesday.

Starting Friday, restaurants, breweries, wineries, bars, and all other non-essential retail establishments must close from 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. local time. Outdoor gatherings remain the only gatherings permitted, and they must only include a maximum of 15 people who are members of no more than 3 households, according to the county's new guidelines.

Officials also announced that for non-essential businesses permitted to operate indoors -- including retail stores, offices, personal care services -- occupancy will be limited to 25 percent maximum capacity.

Additionally, the number of patrons at outdoor restaurants, breweries, wineries, cardrooms, outdoor mini-golf, go-karts and batting cages will be limited to 50 percent max outdoor capacity.

Officials stated that services at personal care establishments may only be provided by appointment to customers wearing face coverings by staff wearing face coverings.

"COVID-19 cases have more than doubled since the beginning of November and hospitalizations have increased from an average of about 900 a day to well over 1,000 a day in same time period," officials said in a release posted on the county's official website, noting that these safeguards and restrictions will protect the public health and safety of local residents, and their ability to be served in hospitals in the county.

"COVID-19 cases are surging across LA County, rapidly approaching the all-time high late July numbers," tweeted Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

"With the recent vaccine news, we can see the light at the end of this tunnel -- but until then, we need to double down and do our part to #SlowTheSpread," she added.

A total of 2,301 new cases and 25 new deaths were reported in the previous 24 hours, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. To date, the public health officials have identified 344,523 positive cases of COVID-19 countywide with 7,299 deaths.

County officials also confirmed that there are 1,126 people with COVID-19 currently hospitalized and 27 percent of these people are in the ICU.

Meanwhile, Official data showed that the county has not experienced the number of daily COVID-19 hospitalizations over 1,100 since late August. This is more than a 40 percent increase from two week ago when daily hospitalizations were 798.

"As COVID-19 transmission and hospitalizations accelerate, we are at time where immediate action is needed to change our current trajectory," said the county's Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer in a daily release.

"Working with the Board of Supervisors, we will modify requirements to enhance safeguards and slow the spread of COVID-19," Ferrer noted.

Both Los Angeles County and the state of California are experiencing a surge in new cases. The new restrictions come after California state officials issued a new order on Monday to mandate Californians to mask up whenever they're outside their homes.

Authorities of California confirmed Friday that new cases in the state have surpassed 1 million, making it the second U.S. state to reach the bleak milestone.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Meng Bin, Liang Jun)

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