Soldiers from the New Mexico National Guard and dozens of state police have been sent to Gallup, N.M., to enforce a strict lockdown near one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks in the U.S., at the nation’s largest Indian reservation, The New York Times reports. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham invoked the state’s Riot Control Act to lock down the entire city, blocking all inbound traffic and ordering residents to remain in their homes except for emergency or essential outings.
The Gallup area had the third-highest rate of infection of any metropolitan area in the United States as of Sunday. Only the areas around New York City and Marion, Ohio, the site of a large prison cluster, had higher rates. While Gallup is not within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation, the city of 22,000 serves as a regional hub for the Navajo and other nearby Native American pueblos. Many citizens of various tribal nations regularly drive into Gallup to buy food and other goods. The refusal to follow social distancing guidelines by some residents of Gallup and other so-called border towns near the reservation has emerged as a source of tension, as tribal authorities say the behavior is undermining their attempts to control the virus.