John Ruwitch

The traffic jams of Los Angeles are legendary, with cars often inching along for miles, bumper to bumper.

But you can add LA gridlock to the long list of things that the coronavirus pandemic has changed.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Updated at 3:45 p.m.

China will close its borders to foreigners starting on Saturday, March 28, in a dramatic step to try to stop the coronavirus coming in from abroad.

The move is the latest in a string of tough steps by the Chinese government to combat the virus, which first appeared in the city of Wuhan late last year and has spread widely since.

Now that China appears to have snuffed out local transmission of the coronavirus, it is trying hard to keep the disease from rebounding back in from abroad. China has reported just a handful of new domestic COVID-19 cases in recent days, but has seen a spike in cases coming in from elsewhere.

As thousands of travelers have begun entering China in anticipation of the eventual return to normalcy, the government has put in place a strict regime of health checks, monitoring and quarantine in the hope that it can catch any new inbound cases before infections can spread.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom expects about 56% of the state's population – more than 22 million Californians – to be infected with the coronavirus over an eight-week period.

The estimate was in a letter Newsom sent to President Trump, dated Wednesday, asking Trump to deploy the naval hospital ship Mercy to the waters off of Los Angeles through the beginning of September.