New Mexico governor invokes riot act to close ALL roads into virus-hit city of Gallup to halt ‘uninhibited spread’ – The Sun

NEW Mexico has sealed off all roads to nonessential traffic in an area bordering the Navajo Nation where coronavirus cases are surging.

Gov Michelle Lujan Grisham invoked the state's Riot Control Act on Friday to ban all traffic in Gallup and ordered all businesses to be closed from 5pm to 8am.

City officials requested new state of emergency under the act that can prohibit people from walking streets and using certain roads.

First-time violators will be slapped with a misdemeanor, while second-time violations are punishable as a felony.

Gallup is a hub for basic household supplies and essential good for people living in remote areas of the Navajo Nation.

Coronavirus infection rates in Gallup and surrounding McKinley County have made the area one of the worst US hotspots for the pandemic.

Grisham said that residents weren't following social distancing rules.

"A problem in one part of our state, with a virus this contagious, is a problem for our entire state," she said.

She urged residents to wear a mask on Twitter Friday, saying: "I wear a mask to protect you, and you wear a mask to protect me."

"We're all in this together. Mask Up. Period," she added before following up with a video about how to make a face covering at home.

Federal health officials linked Gallup's skyrocketing cases to an early outbreak at a detox center, followed by infections among homeless people and nursing homes.

The Navajo nation is also trying to slow the spread of COVID-19 by enforcing a curfew on the 27,000-mile reservation spanning across New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.

The outbreak has been particularly hard on Native Americans, who account for 41.5 percent of coronavirus cases in New Mexico.

More than 3,500 residents have tested positive for COVID-19.

Despite the high number of infections, Natives account for less than 11 percent of the state's population, according to the Santa Fe New Mexican.

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