Texas capital city ups protocols as cases spike

Austin city, capital of the US state of Texas, has raised its coronavirus risk-based guidelines as new cases and hospitalisations spiked in recent days.

According to the city’s public health officials, the new guidelines unveiled on Thursday urge unvaccinated people to avoid nonessential travel and take other precautions, reports Xinhua news agency.

This marks the first time a major Texas city has reversed direction in the trend toward normalcy.

“We cannot pretend that we are done with a virus that is not done with us,” The Texas Tribune quoted Austin Mayor Steve Adler as saying during a Thursday news conference.

Other populous cities like Houston and Dallas have also seen resurgences in the past days.

This was at least partly because of the highly transmissible Delta variant of the virus.

But Austin’s move has no weight of law behind it because the state’s Governor Greg Abbott banned pandemic mandates in May, reported The Texas Tribune.

It also only applies to the city’s unvaccinated population.

Earlier this week, health officials reported that the city’s new case rates and hospitalization rates, while still low, have doubled in the past week.

Adler said he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of stronger moves by the city if these measures don’t reduce the numbers, even if they don’t have Abbott’s support.