A pedestrian walks past a public school in Kew Gardens, one of the COVID-19 hotspot areas in New York City, the United States, Oct. 6, 2020. Public and non-public schools in nine Zip Codes of New York City (NYC) were closed Tuesday morning out of an abundance of caution against the COVID-19 pandemic, said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio at his press conference. The nine Zip Codes have seen about 3 percent positivity of coronavirus tests for seven consecutive days, said de Blasio. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
NEW YORK, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) -- Public and non-public schools in nine Zip Codes of New York City (NYC) were closed Tuesday morning out of an abundance of caution against the COVID-19 pandemic, said NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio at his press conference.
The nine Zip Codes have seen about 3 percent positivity of coronavirus tests for seven consecutive days, said de Blasio.
The school restriction will last for several weeks, and "the faster the community participates, the quicker we can get these schools open again... Everyone has to be part of the solution," he added.
The mayor also tweeted, "Testing is key to beating this virus. Starting this month we'll be doing random COVID-19 tests in our schools. Families, we need your help: sign the consent form to get your child tested. The test is free, safe and easy."
From Sept. 25 to Oct. 5, over 35 schools in these nine Zip Codes of highest concern were tested, and only two positives were found out of 1,351 tests, he told the press conference.
Tuesday is the day that New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered to close hundreds of schools in New York City neighborhoods after seeing surges in COVID-19 cases, one day earlier than the date de Blasio announced on Sunday as part of the reversal of NYC's reopening plan.
The mayor also said on Sunday to close all the non-essential businesses in these areas from Wednesday on, which nonetheless the governor objected to on Monday.
At a news conference, Cuomo criticized local governments for not doing "an effective job of enforcement" in hot spots, saying that he wouldn't close non-essential businesses as de Blasio previously requested, and state officials would supervise the enforcement of social-distancing rules in the city and local municipalities statewide to stop the spread of the pandemic.
However, the mayor later contradicted the governor, saying that "until there is a different plan, we are prepared to implement this plan" to shut down non-essential businesses using Zip Codes in hot spots as a framework because it is the best way to identify areas.
At Tuesday's press conference, he insisted on his decision about the non-essential businesses, saying, "We don't want to harm anybody. We wanna help to stop this spreading."
According to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. coronavirus death toll stood at 210,464 as of Tuesday afternoon, and New York remains one of the worst-hit states by the pandemic in the country. Enditem