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Maine governor places quarantine restrictions on travellers

Workers rub their hands with hand sanitizer as they leave Bath Iron Works, Friday, April 3, 2020, in Bath, Maine. At least workers at the defense contractor have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
April 03, 2020 - 3:56 PM

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine's governor issued an executive order on Friday requiring travellers to the state to self quarantine for 14 days to lessen the chance of transmitting coronavirus.

Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, said the order applies to all travellers to Maine regardless of their state of residency. The order also calls on visitors not to come to the state if they are experiencing symptoms of the virus.

The order suspends lodging operations such as hotels and motels starting on Sunday at noon. The order also states that lodging can be provided for vulnerable populations, such as people who are at risk of domestic violence, Mills's office said.

The order lasts until at least April 30.

“We are facing one of the greatest public health crises of the world in more than a century. But if we pull together, we can and will defeat this virus,” Mills said.

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CONTINUED SPREAD

The virus has spread to 15 of the 16 counties in the state, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Nirav Shah said Friday. All told, nine people have died and more than 400 people have tested positive for the virus in Maine, officials said.

For most people, it causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

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CONVENTIONS PUT OFF

Maine’s major political parties had been scheduled to hold conventions in May, but party representatives said Friday that neither will happen.

The Maine Democrats said in a statement that the party’s convention, scheduled for May 29 and 30 in Bangor, is cancelled. It will be replaced by remote voting for delegates to the Democratic National Convention, and decisions about other convention activities will be determined later, the party said.

Maine GOP executive director Jason Savage said it’s “safe to say we’re not holding our convention in May.” The Republicans had been scheduled to hold a convention in Augusta on May 1 and 2. The party’s executive committee has to meet to make a formal vote to change the rules, Savage said.

Both parties said they were holding off on conventions to prioritize safety during the coronavirus outbreak.

Maine Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Marra said “our duty to protect one another outweighs any other considerations.

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ANOTHER SHIPYARD WORKER POSITIVE

Navy shipbuilder Bath Iron Works is continuing manufacturing operations after a second worker tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The defence contractor announced that the latest worker to test positive was last in the shipyard on Tuesday, prompting Gov. Janet Mills and Maine's congressional delegation to renew their call for the Pentagon to take action to protect the health of shipyard employees.

“This new case only deepens our long-standing concern and hastens the need for the Department of Defence to provide much-needed flexibility so these shipyards can better safeguard the health and safety of their workforce,” the governor and lawmakers said in a statement.

The Trump administration has deemed the shipyard to be essential to the national defence, so it cannot close. The shipyard builds Navy destroyers.

The shipyard's medical team is giving advice to those who came into contact with the worker, who is quarantined, and the company is sanitizing the areas where the infected person had worked, officials said. Meanwhile, the first worker to test positive for COVID-19 at the shipyard has recovered and has been cleared to return to work.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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