Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency and public health emergency Wednesday after cases of the novel coronavirus more than doubled in the city, APA reports citing Anadolu Agency.
The declarations open the door for Bowser to request federal disaster assistance, mandate quarantining for any person for which there is a "probable cause" to believe they are infected with COVID-19 and the ability to make price gouging illegal, she said.
The moves come after the number of presumptive cases in the U.S. capital rose from four to 10.
"Those additional cases indicate to us, because of the nature of the individuals who have been identified, that we have person-to-person transmission occurring in the District of Columbia, as well as at least two individuals whose reason for COVID-19 has yet to be identified," Dr. Laquandra Nesbitt, the director of the D.C. Department of Health, told reporters at a news briefing alongside Bowser and other officials.
The health department earlier Wednesday recommended that non-essential mass gatherings of 1,000 or more people be delayed or cancelled through the end of March.
More than 10 states have declared states of emergency amid the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
There have been 938 confirmed cases of the disease in the country and 29 deaths.