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Missouri lawmakers say avoid Capitol over virus concerns

March 11, 2020 GMT

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers on Tuesday urged citizens to avoid the Capitol unless they’re directly participating in legislative business amid concerns about the novel coronavirus.

Lawmakers closed public access to the House chamber and some other public spaces, including the House Lounge.

“Schools, advocacy groups, and the public at large should strongly consider the reality that a large and diverse population travels to and from the Capitol on a daily basis,” Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz said in a statement. “Most people will not be at risk but, as with any other infectious disease, we need to remain vigilant because populations we may come in contact with, such as the elderly or those with weakened immune systems, are at risk.”

For most people, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.

House Speaker Elijah Haahr in a statement said lawmakers are acting out of an abundance of caution and will continue to conduct business as usual.

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