Philadelphia health officials mull ‘complete lockdown’

Philadelphia officials say “a complete lockdown” is among possible options for the city as coronavirus cases continue to rise.

Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley noted Tuesday that in addition to 3,400 new cases of the virus in Pennsylvania, the virus has sharply risen in the city in recent days.

“Everything is on the table, right down to a complete lockdown to very targeted restrictions,” Farley said.

“We had several days where we had more than 600 cases per day. Just a few weeks ago we were about 70 cases a day, so this is a very rapid rise,” he said in a Tuesday briefing.

Farley added that any Philadelphia residents who participated in spontaneous outdoor celebrations after the election was called for President-elect Joe Biden should be tested for the virus after seven days. 

“We’re worried about gatherings of all sorts, particularly gatherings indoors, but even gathering outdoors,” he said.

“This is a virus that hunts humans. It’s still out there hunting. It’s hunting more aggressively now than it has been in months,” he added.

However, Farley said the city was not imposing any new public health restrictions as of Tuesday.

“Because the spread is mainly happening in private settings, our success depends on what Philadelphia residents do on their own,” he said. He went on to urge residents to steer clear of large family gatherings during the holiday season.

“We are recommending that people celebrate the holidays only with members of their immediate household,” he said.

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