New York's mayor said Tuesday the city's 8.6 million inhabitants should prepare for being ordered to stay at home at any moment within the next 48 hours to help contain the coronavirus pandemic.
Bill de Blasio told reporters that a decision had not been made but that New Yorkers could soon be confined to their residences, barring any essential travel.
"I think that all New Yorkers should be prepared right now for the possibility of a 'shelter-in-place' order," the mayor said.
"I think we have to come to that decision in the next 48 hours," he added, without specifying what exactly the order would look like.
His comments came a day after San Francisco's mayor announced a "remain-in-place" order restricting millions of Californians to their homes except for basic needs.
Also Monday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced he was limiting the movements of residents of the state in a bid to contain the outbreak.
He said "all non-essential and non-emergency travel" between 8:00 pm and 5:00 am was "strongly discouraged."
De Blasio said any decision about New York would be taken in consultation with state Governor Andrew Cuomo.
New York's restaurants and bars were ordered closed this week, except for takeout, and the city's large public schools system is also shuttered as officials scramble to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The virus has claimed seven lives in New York City, with confirmed cases at 814, according to officials.
© 2020 AFP