AUSTIN, Texas — Leaders in El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston and Austin on Tuesday joined a growing a list of Texas cities including Dallas and San Antonio that have ordered people to stay at home to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The announcements came as Gov. Greg Abbott, who has declined to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order, nonetheless advised Texans to stay home.
"As Texans we're all in this together," Abbott said. "If at all possible, stay home. We want to slow the spread of the virus."
The governor reiterated that if necessary, he might still order a "heightened standard and stricter enforcement" at some point.
For now, the restrictions in the state's major cities means residents must stay at home except for essential activities. Generally, businesses including grocery stores, gas stations and restaurants with delivery and takeout will remain open during such orders.
Eleven deaths have been reported in Texas so far, along with more than 800 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness linked to coronavirus. More than 11,000 people in Texas have been tested, Abbott said Tuesday.
The vast majority of people who contract the virus recover within weeks. It causes only mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but it can lead to more severe illness, including pneumonia, in some people.