Coronavirus crisis: Seattle turns into ‘apocalyptic’ ghost town – staff told to stay home

Seattle is the largest city in Washington and the western state accounts for more than 75 percent of all coronavirus-related deaths in the US. Authorities have confirmed 366 coronavirus cases of the Covid-19 virus have been diagnosed in Washington. Across the US a total of 37 people have died due to the virus with 29 deaths coming in Washington.

Seattle is a major technology-hub and is the home to some of the largest firms in the US.

Technology giants including Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook all have a presence in the region and have encouraged employees to work remotely.

The drastic measures to contain the virus has turned the city into an eerie ghost town.

Kerry Lusignan, who works for a dog-walking service said: “It’s apocalyptic.”

Schools, Universities and local businesses have also been forced to closed its doors which has left the streets deserted.

Matt McIlwain, managing director of venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group, told The Financial Times: “The reality is setting in. There is a a whole bunch of these second and third order effects.”

He added: “There is a growing, broadening nervousness about the uncertainty.”

Washington Governor Jay Inslee has also banned gatherings of over 250 people.

The ban targeted sports, concerts, and places of worship.

He said: “We’re going to fight this epidemic as much as we can and the reason is we don’t want to see an avalanche of people coming into our hospitals with limited capacity.”

The Mayor of Seattle Jenny Durkan has blamed the lack of medical testing for the outbreak of the disease.

She said: “The lack of testing was a significant hinderance to our regions ability to detect and respond to this disease.

“We are still playing catch-up with that.”

In a meeting last week with US Vice-President Mike Pence, the Seattle Mayor said she demanded more medical resources, including equipment and more medical staff in order to tackle the virus.

On Wednesday the World Health Organisation formally upgraded the health crisis to a pandemic.

The coronavirus has infected more than 121,000 people in 118 countries.

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Around the world more than 4,300 people have died due to the virus.

In response US President Donald Trump ordered the suspension of European travel to the US for 30 days.

Mr Trump said: “We are marshalling the full power of the federal government and the private sector to protect the American people.

“This is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history.”

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