Texas Governor Greg Abbott has announced that the state is halting its reopening process after hospitals were flooded with new Covid-19 cases and health officials raised fears of bed shortages.

“The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses,” Abbott said in a statement. “This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business.”

The development comes as Texas, the US state with the second largest population, continues to report record increases in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. 

More than 5,000 new cases were recorded on three consecutive days and successive hospitalization records were hit for 13 consecutive days. Coronavirus testing numbers reveal that 10 percent of Texans tested are positive for the disease.

It also comes the day after the US broke its own record for the number of coronavirus cases recorded in a single day, with more than 38,000 new patients confirmed in 24 hours. 

The Republican Governor explained that businesses that were permitted to open under the previous reopening phases can continue to operate under the guidelines set out by the Texas Department of State Health Services. 

Residents were also asked to wear face masks and abide by social distancing guidelines. “The more that we all follow these guidelines, the safer our state will be and the more we can open up Texas for business,” Abbott said.

With over 121,000 fatalities recorded, the US Covid-19 death toll is by far the highest in the world.

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