As the novel coronavirus outbreak continues in the U.S., Texas has reported its second, third and fourth highest daily spikes in cases since the outbreak began, within two days of the state easing lockdown measures on May 1.
Harris and Dallas counties have reported the most deaths so far, with 133 and 111 deaths respectively, while other counties have seen fewer than around 75 fatalities.
From May 1, all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, malls, museums and libraries have been reopened but with occupancy limitations and other restrictions in place.
Churches have been advised to “strongly encourage” members of the congregation falling within the at-risk population (those aged 65 and older or with other health conditions) to participate in services remotely or to provide an area at the church property exclusively for attendees within the at-risk population.
The governor also announced the state has maximized its testing capacity to conduct 15,000 to 20,000 tests a day, with a goal to reach 30,000 per day in the near term.
Currently only around 1.4 percent (407,398 people) of Texas, the second largest state in the country with a population of 28.9 million, has been tested for the virus.
The second phase of the reopening is expected to begin on May 18, but Texas Governor Greg Abbott noted this step would have to be supported by data ensuring the outbreak is contained.