FRIDAY, March 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. State Department warned Americans to avoid international travel and residents of the country's most populous state, California, were ordered to stay at home indefinitely, as national COVID-19 cases climbed past 13,000.
California's order -- the most drastic measure taken yet in this country to slow down the spread of COVID-19 -- will last until "further notice," the governor's office said. Residents of San Francisco and Los Angeles were issued similar orders earlier this week. The state has had at least 995 coronavirus cases and 19 deaths, CNN reported.
"There's a social contract here. People I think recognize the need to do more and to meet this moment," Gov. Gavin Newsom said in an evening news conference streamed on social media. "People will self-regulate their behavior, they'll begin to adjust and adapt as they have been quite significantly."
Hours earlier, the U.S. State Department raised its global health advisory to the highest warning level and announced that Americans should not travel outside the country and citizens abroad should either return home or stay in place as the coronavirus pandemic grows. "If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite time frame," the advisory warned.