National Aeronautics Space Agency (NASA) on March 19 announced that it is suspending work on building and testing rocket for its next manned mission to the Moon. The decision was taken in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States and the rest of the country.
NASA in a release said, "NASA leadership is determined to make the health and safety of its workforce its top priority as we navigate the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. To that end, the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility and Stennis Space Center are moving to Stage 4 of the NASA Response Framework, effective Friday, March 20."
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said, "The change at Stennis was made due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the community around the center, the number of self-isolation cases within our workforce there, and one confirmed case among our Stennis team. While there are no confirmed cases at Michoud, the facility is moving to Stage 4 due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the local area, in accordance with local and federal guidelines."
The United States has so far recorded 14,354 cases of coronavirus, of which 565 cases came in the last 24 hours. According to data acquired by worldometer, 125 patients in the country have recovered fully. The data shows, the United States has logged in 217 deaths since the virus first broke out in December last year. The total number of active cases in the country is above 14,000 of which 64 patients remain under critical condition.
The COVID-19 has claimed more than 10,000 lives across the world and has infected nearly 2,45,000 people globally since it first broke out in December 2019. China is the most affected country in the world as experts believe that the virus originated from a seafood market in Wuhan city, the epicentre of the disease, where animals were reportedly being traded illegally. Italy, Iran and Spain are the most affected countries outside mainland China, where, as of March 17 the combined death toll stands at 5,520. Italy has now surpassed China to record the most number of deaths in the world due to the virus outbreak.