The White House is expected to recommend that Americans wear a face covering when they go out.
On Thursday, the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. topped 5,000 on Thursday, according to NBC News' tally, and nearly 240,000 cases have been confirmed across the country. Globally, more than 1,000,000 people have tested positive and more than 50,000 have died from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.
In the United States, government relief payments will begin the week of April 13 — although people who don’t have direct deposit on file with the Internal Revenue Service may have to wait months for checks to arrive, according to a memo obtained by NBC News.
The economic fallout from the pandemic accelerated with a record 6.6 million jobless claims filed last week.
- Here's what to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments.
- MAPS: Where cases have been confirmed in the U.S. and worldwide.
- Stay-at-home orders across the country: What each state is doing — or not doing — amid widespread coronavirus lockdowns.
Download the NBC News app for latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.
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Lawmakers ask that evacuated Peace Corps volunteers be allowed to aid response
A mostly Democratic group of Congress members led by Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., is asking the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and FEMA to provide recently evacuated Peace Corps volunteers the opportunity to complete their service through domestic coronavirus response efforts.
Current and former presidential candidates Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., are among the supporters, which include more than 20 senators and 18 Democratic members of the House. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine is currently the only Republican signatory.
In the letter, the lawmakers wrote that while they supported the recall of the volunteers, they "believe that terminating their service contracts and health insurance coverage — at a time when our country’s public health and economic crises are rapidly worsening — not only endangers the livelihood of volunteers, but also squanders their unique skillset. We therefore urge you to provide them opportunities to enlist in domestic efforts to combat COVID-19.”
The letter says the volunteers' expertise is now “desperately needed on the home front” and urges they be fast tracked into relevant FEMA and AmeriCorps roles or become part of a COVID-19 response corps, if one is formed. The lawmakers requested a mid-April briefing on any steps toward those ends. In a second letter, lawmakers asked the administration clarify that unemployment benefits in the recently passed stimulus package covers Peace Corps, AmeriCorps and other national service participants.
Western states report 600 deaths to date
As of Monday, 13 states in the western U.S. had reported a combined 23,705 coronavirus cases and 602 deaths.
More than half of the cases and almost 70 percent of the deaths occurred in the hotspots of Washington state and California.
Wyoming has not reported any deaths, while Hawaii has reported just one, Alaska has reported three and Montana has reported five. The other states included in the totals are Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado.
Democratic Party delays July convention until August over coronavirus concerns
The Democratic National Committee is postponing its summer convention in Milwaukee over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
"In our current climate of uncertainty, we believe the smartest approach is to take additional time to monitor how this situation unfolds so we can best position our party for a safe and successful convention," Joe Solmonese, CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee, said in a statement. "During this critical time, when the scope and scale of the pandemic and its impact remain unknown, we will continue to monitor the situation and follow the advice of health care professionals and emergency responders."
New York has 85,000 volunteers to fight pandemic as deaths in state pass 2,000
New York has 85,000 volunteers who will be sent to hospitals to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday at a press conference.
"New Yorkers will return the favor," the governor promised in announcing the volunteer army days after he publicly pleaded for people from around the country to help his state.
Cuomo also announced new figures showing the scale of the state's challenge in fighting the spread of the deadly virus.
- The death toll has passed 2,000 to 2,373, with the total number of cases now 92,381.
- The state will run out of ventilators in six days given projected, continued demand.
- New York City has 51,809 cases, up by 4,370.
In a break from the typical press conference format, the governor's brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, who has tested positive for coronavirus, joined remotely.
"I’m so proud of him for showing New York what this vicious virus looks like and for demystifying it," Andrew Cuomo said on Twitter of his younger brother.
Photo: Messages for NHS in Britain
Georgia's GOP governor admits he just learned asymptomatic people can spread coronavirus
Brian Kemp, the Republican governor of Georgia, admitted on Wednesday that he had only just learned that asymptomatic individuals can still spread coronavirus — even though health experts had warned about the possibility as early as January.
Kemp, in a press conference on Wednesday said the fact that he’d just learned that information contributed to him issuing a statewide shelter-in-place order in Georgia.
Kemp, said that he had, in just the last 24 hours, learned “that this virus is now transmitting before people see signs.”
“This is a game-changer for us,” he added.
NYC emergency medical services to stop taking unresponsive cardiac patients to hospitals
Cardiac arrest patients are no longer to be transported to hospitals if they do not have a pulse, according to a new order issued by the governing body of New York City's emergency medical services, Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York.
Typically, if someone has had cardiac arrest - such as a heart attack or severe trauma - EMS units will try and take that person to the hospital, even if there's no blood flow, while working to bring their pulse back en route.
Emergency officials told NBC News that the reasoning behind the order is it will prevent extra patients going to hospitals if those patients really have no hope of being saved. It will also decrease the amount of time emergency medical technicians are out on a call where there is no hope for saving someone. The body will be taken care of with respect, officials said.
EMTs will not initiate resuscitation for patients with obvious signs of death or a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. For patients EMTs do attempt to resuscitate, if after 20 minutes of CPR, the defibrillator or the heart monitor shows a "no shock indicated" or a non-shockable rhythm and there is no blood circulation, CPR is to be terminated.
Putin extends stay-at-home guidance until the end of April
In an address to the nation Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that a current nationwide work from home guidance has been extended until the end of April, warning that the worst of the coronavirus epidemic has yet to come.
Putin announced the guidance last Wednesday, describing it as a week-long non-working holiday in which he urged Russians to stay at home. Later, lower-level officials clarified it was a work-from-home order.
The week at home, which saw most everything save for grocery stores and pharmacies closed nationwide, bought Russia valuable time, Putin said, “but we still need to be aware that the threat — the peak of this epidemic — is not yet over.”
“That is why I have taken the decision to extend the non-working period until the end of the month, April 30,” Putin said. “This will be paid leave.”
Putin, however, left the specifics up to regional leadership, claiming that Russia is too large for a blanket policy. He also pointed out that some regions have larger outbreaks, requiring harsher measures.
Texas city says it may fine, jail residents who do not cover their face
A new emergency law in Laredo, Texas, that went into effect Tuesday morning imposes a criminal penalty on residents who do not shelter in place or wear a face covering of some kind as a way to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
Police will be enforcing this new law with a fine up to $1,000 or jail time of up to 180 days, according to an announcement from city officials.
Laredo has said there are some exceptions to when face coverings are no longer required, such as “engaging in a permissible outside physical activity" and riding in a personal vehicle, among other instances.
Michigan closes its school buildings for the rest of the academic year
Michigan's governor has ordered schools closed for the remainder of the school year, with remote lessons to continue.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the order Thursday "for the sake of our students, their families, and the more than 100,000 teachers and staff in our state," she said in a statement.
All of the state's K-12 schools will be closed, unless restrictions are lifted, although school employees will be able to use the buildings for giving remote instruction while practicing social distancing.
“My number one priority right now is protecting Michigan families from the spread of COVID-19," Whitmer said in the statement. “As a parent, I understand the challenge closing schools creates for parents and guardians across the state, which is why we are setting guidelines for schools to continue remote learning and ensuring parents have resources to continue their children’s education from the safety of their homes."
Health care workers running short of drugs for COVID-19 patients turn to Twitter
Health care workers who say they are running low on the drugs they need to keep coronavirus patients sedated while they are on ventilators are sharing their stories on Twitter.
Using the hashtag #WeNeedMeds, doctors and nurses say they are running out of fentanyl, versed, propofol and paralytic drugs, which are used to sedate COVID-19 patients so they can be intubated to help them breathe. A combination or cocktail of the drugs is often used to induce a deep sleep and manage pain.
Thailand issues nationwide curfew to contain outbreak
Thailand will introduce a six-hour curfew in a bid to control the virus outbreak until further notice, authorities said Thursday. The authorities warned that anyone who breached the order faced a two-year jail term and up to a $1,200 fine.
The curfew bans everyone in the country leaving their homes from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. local time starting on Friday, although essential staff, such as medical workers, are exempt. Nearly half of Thailand’s 1,875 reported cases are in the country's busy capital of Bangkok, according to Reuters. Fifteen people had died in the country as of Thursday.
Photo: Raising awareness about social distancing in India
Schumer calls on Trump to appoint 'military man' to oversee coronavirus supply distribution
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is calling on President Donald Trump to appoint a czar with a military background to oversee the dissemination of critically needed materials to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
“We need him to put in charge a czar of the whole production and distribution of these materials under the DPA,” Schumer said, referring to the Defense Production Act, in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Schumer said the person should be a “military man” because the military knows how to collect and distribute materials quickly. He said he would be sending a letter to Trump to formally ask him to take that step.
Read the full story here.
FedEx drivers say they're not getting coronavirus protections other delivery workers receive
The drivers who handle much of FedEx’s delivery business say they are not getting the coronavirus protections and additional sick leave other U.S. delivery workers have been given, even as they risk exposure working long hours delivering high volumes of packages to millions of Americans stuck at home.
While many major U.S. companies, including UPS, Amazon and the U.S. Postal Service, have changed sick leave policies for essential employees like delivery workers in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, drivers for FedEx’s Ground division say the company has not provided cleaning and sanitizing supplies or offered additional health benefits like sick leave, even though other FedEx employees have received some.
Greece quarantines camp after migrants test positive
Greece has quarantined a migrant camp after 20 asylum seekers tested positive for coronavirus, the migration ministry said on Thursday — its first such facility to be hit since the outbreak of the disease.
Tests were conducted after a 19-year-old female migrant living in the camp in central Greece was found infected after giving birth at an Athens hospital last week. She was the first recorded case among thousands of asylum seekers living in overcrowded camps across Greece.
None of the confirmed cases showed any symptoms, the ministry said, adding that it was continuing its tests.
The country — often seen as the gateway to Europe for people fleeing conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and beyond — has reported 1,415 cases so far, and 50 deaths.
Pentagon plans to provide 100K body bags to FEMA
The Department of Defense plans to provide 100,000 body bags to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as the coronavirus death toll climbs, the Pentagon said Thursday in a statement.
"The Department of Defense and the Defense Logistics Agency have a longstanding arrangement with FEMA to procure key commodities from DLA's industrial partners during crisis response operations," the Pentagon said.
"DLA is currently responding to FEMA's prudent planning efforts for 100,000 pouches to address mortuary contingencies on behalf of state health agencies," the Pentagon added.
China county sets new lockdown guidelines to avoid second wave outbreak
Officials in a central county in China announced strict new guidelines Thursday after several coronavirus cases were reported in the area and virtually all outbound movement was banned on Wednesday.
Due to the potential threat of a second wave outbreak in China, all villages in the Jia county will have only one exit and people trying to leave will have to show entry and exit permits, get their temperature checked and wear masks, according to the new measures.
Strict home quarantine measures will be also put in place. When necessary, “paper seals could be put on doors” for those that need to be monitored, they said. Community workers will also make sure families under quarantine have enough daily supplies delivered to their doorstep.
China, where the outbreak first emerged in December, has been reporting dwindling new infections recently. Of its more than 82,000 confirmed cases, it has reported more than 70,000 patients had recovered as of Thursday.
Fauci on threats to his safety: 'I've chosen this life'
Dr. Anthony Fauci said Thursday that he remains focused on his work fighting the coronavirus pandemic despite reports of threats to his personal safety.
In an interview on NBC's "TODAY" show, host Savannah Guthrie asked the nation's top infectious disease expert whether he feels personally threatened or whether he and his family feel safe, a reference to reports that he has received a protection from the federal government.
“I've chosen this life. I mean I know what it is," Fauci said. "There are things about it that are sometimes disturbing. But you just focus on the job you have to do, and just put all that stuff aside and try as best as possible not to pay attention to it."
Read the full story here.
WHO says 95 percent of Europe's dead are over 60 years of age, but young not immune
More than 95 precent of those who have died of coronavirus in Europe have been over 60, but young people should not be complacent, the head of the World Health Organization's Europe office said in an online press conference on Thursday.
Dr. Hans Kluge — noting the most affected countries in Europe are Italy, Spain and France — said age is not the only risk factor for getting a severe case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
“The very notion that COVID-19 only affects older people is factually wrong,” he said. "Young people are not invincible.”
“All of us, at all ages, need to act in solitary to prevent the further community spread of the virus,” he said.
A record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week
A record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, the latest brutal reminder of the toll the coronavirus pandemic is taking on the U.S. economy.
Thursday's figure eclipses the record-shattering 3.28 million jobless claims for the week ending March 21, which was the first real marker of the impact from the coronavirus on the workforce.
Global update on Spain's grim death toll, a quarantined migrant camp, Duterte's warning, and more
High speed trains continue to relocate patients in France to ease hospital pressure
The Paris Seine Civil Protection, a French first aid organization, posted pictures on Wednesday of the inside of high speed trains in Paris where victims of coronavirus being placed by medical volunteers in order to be transported elsewhere.
France has already been shuttling patients from last week by TGV speed trains from places in the country where the outbreak has overwhelmed hospitals, to other less saturated areas and regions in the country.
France is battling to free up space in life-support units, which has now become critical in the country’s capital. In Paris, the number of beds in intensive care units is practically at the same level as the number of patients, according to Reuters.
France has more than 50,000 confirmed cases as of Thursday and is in the midst of a two-month long state of emergency.
Foster kids who can't visit parents are struggling under isolation
A typical morning for Arnie Eby begins at 6 a.m. He and his wife, Donna, fix breakfast for their four adopted kids and three foster children, then check their backpacks and pack lunch boxes. Once his wife heads to work as the health manager of a local Head Start program, he sees the children onto five different school buses and then sits down for a cup of coffee.
Since the threat of COVID-19 closed schools in Maryland nearly three weeks ago, life in Eby's home has changed dramatically. Local nonprofits that provide mental health services and programs for children with disabilities — which Eby and his wife rely on to support their seven children, who range in age from 5 to 18 and have differing levels of special needs and histories of trauma — closed shortly after.
Child welfare advocates say that America's foster care system, which relies on in-person contact and human connection, is struggling under the weight of this unprecedented period of isolation, which is risking the well-being of children, foster parents and biological parents.
Italy will receive first coronavirus aid, E.U. says
Italy will be the first country to receive financial help from the European Union, the head of European Commission announced on Thursday.
In a letter published in Italian daily La Repubblica, Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union would allocate up to 100 billion euros ($110 billion) to the countries most affected by the pandemic, starting with Italy, to make up for the reduction in wages and to preserve jobs amid the economic havoc wreaked by coronavirus restrictions.
Italy has been hit the hardest by the global coronavirus pandemic, and on Wednesday recorded more than 13,000 deaths. Some Italians have voiced criticism of the E.U. for not doing more to help in the country's fight against coronavirus.
Massachusetts gets 1 million N95 masks from China — with help from the New England Patriots
States short on medical supplies are turning to any means necessary for sourcing and transportation. In Massachusetts, that means help from the New England Patriots.
Gov. Charlie Baker tweeted on Thursday that 1 million N95 masks had arrived from China on board one of the two team planes owned by the Patriots. Baker thanked the family of Patriots owner Robert Kraft and included a slogan used by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick: "No days off."
Out of the hospital, Rep. Ben McAdams says COVID-19 'hit me really, really hard'
Rep. Ben McAdams, D-Utah, said Thursday that he's feeling much better now that he's out of the hospital where he stayed for more than a week with COVID-19.
"I found myself in the hospital for eight days, and I just had trouble breathing couldn't keep my oxygen levels up, and it hit me really really hard and so it's good to be back on my feet right now. I'm virus free," McAdams said in an interview on the "TODAY" show.
He said that he knew it was time to call the doctor and go to the hospital because he said he couldn't get out of bed and walk across the room without being out of breath.
"I just never could breathe on my own without that supplemental oxygen or keep my levels up," he said.
The 45-year-old, who said he has no underlying conditions, implored people to take the disease seriously because he said, "You don't know how it's going to get you, how it's going to affect you."
Vacation towns have a message for seasonal residents: Stay away
Martha's Vineyard, an island retreat off Massachusetts for the Northeast's elite, is a health care desert.
The Vineyard has one hospital with 25 beds and seven ventilators. Local officials estimate the current population at 25,000, meaning the island has about 1 bed per 1,000 residents, far fewer than the state average of 2.4 per 1,000.
Because the Vineyard is isolated from the mainland, its limited medical infrastructure could quickly crumble if a coronavirus outbreak were to sweep across the island. The vacation community is one of many across the country flooded by seasonal residents hoping to escape urban centers amid the pandemic.
Coronavirus cases in Iran top 50,000
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Iran passed 50,000 on Thursday, after 2,875 cases were reported in the past 24 hours.
There were also 124 new deaths recorded in the worst-hit country in the Middle East, bringing the total death toll to 3,160.
This comes after Iran's judiciary spokesman said last Sunday that nearly 100,000 prisoners will be temporarily released to ease the pressure on the healthcare system.
U.S. purchased medical supplies from Russia, State Department says
The U.S. State Department said that it purchased the medical supplies that Russia sent to the U.S. on Wednesday, including ventilators and personal protection equipment. The Kremlin had branded the supplies as humanitarian aid to help the U.S. fight the coronavirus pandemic.
A plane carrying the supplies landed in New York on Wednesday prompting criticism from political observers who decried the move as a propaganda ploy by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
“Trump gratefully accepted this humanitarian aid,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was cited as saying by the Interfax news agency on Tuesday, the day after Trump and the Russian president held a phone call to discuss the coronavirus crisis.
Biden says he thinks convention will have to be postponed until August
Joe Biden said Wednesday that he thinks the Democratic National Convention, which is scheduled for mid-July, will have to be postponed until at least August.
"I doubt whether the Democratic convention is going to be able to be held in mid-July, early July. I think it's going to have to move into August," the presidential contender said in a virtual interview with NBC's "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon.
Biden, however, suggested that even with a delay into August, the situation could still change. "We just have to be prepared for the alternative, and the alternative we don't know what it's going to be unless we have a better sense of whether this curve moving down or up," he said.
The former vice president made the comment in response to a question about how the coronavirus outbreak will affect the elections and whether it would lead to people sending in mail-in ballots. Biden first suggested the convention might have to be moved in an interview Tuesday night on MSNBC when he said "it's hard to envision" it going on as planned.
The Republican National Convention is also scheduled for August.
Spain's death toll tops 10,000 after record daily rise
Spain's coronavirus death toll climbed past 10,000, the country's Health Ministry said on Thursday, making it the second country in the world to reach the grim milestone. Only Italy has more deaths at 13,155.
Spanish health officials said they registered 950 new deaths on Wednesday, the highest daily increase so far.
A total of 110,238 total cases have been reported, up by 8,102.
Man jailed for COVID-19-related assault on police officer in London
A man who coughed on a police officer and claimed to have the coronavirus has been sent to jail for six months, London’s Metropolitan Police said Thursday. It is believed to be the first such sentence in the U.K.'s capital.
The man, 55, is alleged to have attempted to cough up phlegm and spit in the officer’s face, telling the officer he had the virus.
The department’s chief superintendent said he hoped the sentence would convey a strong message that assaults of that nature will not be tolerated as the nation is tries to stem the spread of the virus.
Rows of freshly dug graves mark cemetery in São Paulo, Brazil
Adam Schlesinger, Fountains of Wayne musician, dies of virus at 52
Adam Schlesinger, a musician and songwriter highly regarded for his work as a member of Fountains of Wayne and an Emmy-winning songwriter for TV’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” has died as a result of coronavirus complications on Wednesday. He was 52.
Schlesinger had previously been reported Tuesday morning as “very sick and heavily sedated” by his attorney of 25 years, Josh Grier. Schlesinger has been in an upstate New York hospital for more than a week at that time, Grier said.
Schlesinger has been nominated for Oscars, Tonys, Grammys and Emmys and won the latter two awards. At the 2018 Emmys, he was up for two trophies for his “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” work and picked up one, winning in the outstanding original music and lyrics category for the song “Antidepressants Are So Not A Big Deal” (shared with the show’s star, Rachel Bloom, and Jack Dolgen).
Israeli PM in isolation after health minister tests positive
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is self-isolating for a week after the country’s health minister and his wife tested positive for the coronavirus.
Netanyahu’s office said Thursday the prime minister was put in isolation on the advice of his personal physician and following instructions from the Health Ministry. The ministry has earlier confirmed that Health Minister Yaakov Litzman and his wife tested positive for the coronavirus, and are feeling well.
In a television address on Wednesday, Netanyahu said Israel was still in the midst of “a health tsunami” as it tries to control the coronavirus epidemic and asked all Israelis to wear face masks in public areas.
'Shoot them dead': Philippine leader warns lockdown violators
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has warned violators of lockdown measures they could be shot for causing trouble on Wednesday. He also said abuse of medical workers was a serious crime that would not be tolerated.
"My orders to the police and military... if there is trouble and there's an occasion that they fight back and your lives are in danger, shoot them dead," Duterte said in a televised address. "Is that understood? Dead. Instead of causing trouble, I will bury you."
The Philippines has recorded 96 coronavirus deaths and 2,311 confirmed cases with infections now being reported in the hundreds every day.
Examining the etiquette of social distancing from shopping to traveling
Jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis, 85, dies while fighting coronavirus
Jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis died in New Orleans after contracting coronavirus, his son told the Associated Press on Wednesday.
The 85-year-old developed pneumonia and ultimately succumbed to that pulmonary infection, which was triggered by the virus, Ellis Marsalis III said.
Marsalis was a jazz pianist and educator whose sons include trumpeter Wynton, saxophonist Branford, trombonist Delfeayo and drummer Jason.
In 2006, after Hurricane Katrina tore through his hometown, Marsalis joined the effort to build Musicians' Village, a community of 72 homes in the Upper Ninth Ward neighborhood. The nonprofit Ellis Marsalis Center for Music, a performance and education space, is now a centerpiece of the community.
Number of infected UT spring breakers grows to 44
The number of students at the University of Texas at Austin who went on a spring break trip to Mexico and later tested positive for the coronavirus illness COVID-19 is now 44, a university spokesperson said.
About 70 young adults traveled together on a chartered plane to Cabo San Lucas a week and a half ago, the Austin Public Health Department said.
On Tuesday, the city of Austin and the university said 28 students had tested positive but dozens more from the group that traveled were under public health investigation. The 28 were self-isolating and others were under quarantine and being tested, officials said then.
Some of the travelers returned to the U.S. on commercial flights, the health department said. Four of the initial 28 who tested positive did not present any symptoms, the city said. The coronavirus can be dangerous to anyone, but a major concern for health officials is that the young and healthy will spread it to others.
UT Austin officials tweeted Wednesday that they are concerned about the spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in the student body and told students to take the pandemic seriously and follow social distancing and other guidelines. UT Austin has moved classes online amid the pandemic.
Leaders in Hawaii ask Trump to halt inbound travel
A trio of Hawaiian mayors asked President Donald Trump on Wednesday to halt nonessential out-of-state travel to the islands.
In a letter to the president, Kirk Caldwell of Honolulu, Derek Kawakami of Kauai and Mike Victorino of Maui argued the move would slow the spread of coronavirus, which has caused one death in a state with 258 cases. Caldwell said a majority of those cases were "travel-related."
"Now is not the time for leisurely travel," Kawakami said.
On Tuesday, Gov. David Ige ordered those traveling between islands to self-quarantine for 14 days.