In a bid to contain the rampantly-spreading coronavirus outbreak, a Texas city has passed an emergency law that requires all of its residents to wear a mask or any other type of protective equipment to cover their face in public, otherwise face a heavy fine and jail time.

The city of Laredo in Texas enforced a new emergency law which makes it mandatory for residents over the age of five to have their nose and mouth covered with a mask, bandana, scarf, cloth or any other form of protection when entering public buildings, using public transportation and when pumping gas.

Emergency law passed in Texas to contain COVID-19

Face Masks
Pixabay

"This does not apply when a person is: engaging in a permissible outside physical activity; that are riding in a personal vehicle; that are in alone in a separate single space; that are with their own shelter group (household members); when doing so poses a greater health, safety or security risk; or for consumption purposes," the notice also states.

Pay $1,000 fine or spend 6 months in jail

Those who are caught violating the new rule, which will stay in effect until April 30, will face fines up to $1,000 or jail time of up to 180 days, according to an announcement from city officials.

Residents will also face the above-mentioned penalties if they do not adhere to a daily curfew. As part of the regulation, the curfew will last from 10 m to 5 am, during which residents "will be required to stay in their homes during this time and may only leave for essential trips and necessities."

Coronavirus outbreak in US

Coronavirus update 3rd April
Coronavirus toll as of 3rd April. John Hopkins University

These emergency measures are being taken by city officials in Laredo as lawmakers across the country are issuing lockdown orders in a desperate effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

According to information obtained from the John Hopkins University, the United States has more than 2,13,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and the death toll has surged to 4,500 people. The state of Texas has reported more than 4,600 infections, including 70 fatalities.