One of the Largest Indian Tribes In the Nation Is Preparing for a Full Lockdown

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Posted: Apr 07, 2020 7:35 PM
One of the Largest Indian Tribes In the Nation Is Preparing for a Full Lockdown

Source: AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

The Navajo Nation, which sits in parts of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico and spans 27,000 square miles, expanded a previously declared state of emergency. This weekend, one of the nation's largest Indian tribes will implement a 57-hour lockdown to help slow the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus.

The lockdown will begin on Friday, April 10 at 8 p.m. MDT and end on Monday, April 13 at 5 a.m. MDT. Those who fail to comply with the order will be cited and fined. The Navajo Police Department will be implementing checkpoints and enforcing the stay-at-home order.

"The public health emergency order is intended to restrict the movement of Navajo citizens during the full weekend curfew. We are seeing way too many people contract the virus and we need to step up measures to begin to reduce the numbers," Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said in a statement. "Our health care system cannot manage the growing number of patients and those who need to be admitted. We continue to receive reporters of people on the road and traveling with families to nearby border towns."

The tribe's vice president, Myron Lizer, said projections have shown the Navajo Nation has yet to reach its peak. Because of that, their government is working to flatten the curve.

Medical providers and first responders are exempt from the order. They will be required to show their work badges or a letter from their employer stating they are an essential employee. Everyone is required to stay at home unless they are reporting to or from duty or there is an emergency. 

The Navajo government is also encouraging other "essential businesses" outside of medical personnel to limit operations during the lockdown.