Washington state to ban gatherings of more than 250 people as coronavirus epidemic spreads: reports
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (screengrab)

The governor of Washington is expected to announce drastic steps to fight the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.

"To try to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Jay Inslee is expected Wednesday to restrict gatherings of more than 250 people, including at sporting events and concerts," The Seattle Times reported Tuesday. "The measure, the most sweeping since the outbreak began in the state, will be announced during a Seattle news conference, according to a source involved in conversations with the governor’s office but who has not been cleared to discuss the issue."

Further reporting on the expected announcement came from The Herald of Everett.

"Initially the prohibition would be imposed only in Snohomish, King and Pierce counties, the state’s three most populous," The Herald reported. "The governor will be joined by Snohomish County Executive Dave Somers, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier. Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin, along with the mayors of Seattle and Tacoma, also will attend."

Over 250 people in the state have tested positive for the virus, with 24 deaths so far.