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Florida coronavirus lockdown: how long is it & what are the restrictions?

With the United States' Covid-19 death toll continuing to rise, Florida governor Ron DeSantis has announced a lockdown of the Sunshine State.

Closed entrance to a playground is pictured, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in New York City, U.S., April 2, 2020. REUTERS/Soren Larson

With the number of coronavirus cases in Florida closing in on the 10,000 mark, governor Ron DeSantis this week placed the US state under lockdown in a bid to halt the spread of Covid-19.

DeSantis announces "Safer At Home" Florida lockdown

Speaking on Wednesday, DeSantis said: “I’m going to be doing an executive order today directing all Floridians to limit movements and personal interactions outside the home to only those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or conduct essential activities.”

The order, named “Safer At Home”, came into force at midnight EDT on Thursday and is due to expire on 30 April.

De Santis explained that he had taken the decision after talking to American president Donald Trump, who has warned that the US will have done a "very good job" if it keeps its national death toll to 100,000 or under.

“At this point, even though I think there’s a lot of places in Florida that have very low infection rates, it makes sense to make this move now,” DeSantis said. “I did consult with folks in the White House. I did speak to the president.”

9,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida

According to figures compiled by the New York Times, there have been 9,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Florida, leading to a total of 144 deaths.

In all, the Johns Hopkins University reports that 6,058 people in the US have so far been killed by Covid-19, which has registered 245,601 cases in the country.

Essential services and activities

Under the terms of Florida’s lockdown, residents of the state are allowed to leave their house to work in or use “essential services” such as healthcare, childcare, supermarkets, banks, petrol stations and takeaway restaurants.

You can find the full list here, per the Herald-Tribune.

According to the lockdown order, Floridians can also go out for the following activities: attending religious services; walking, biking, fishing, hunting, running or swimming; taking care of pets; and caring for a loved one or friend.

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