As many as 6.5 million people in the US will be allowed to return to their homes this weekend due to a national health crisis, as officials seek to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
But the decision comes as health officials scramble to contain an outbreak that has seen tens of thousands of people become ill and more than 1,200 die.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said on Wednesday it will begin limiting the amount of food people can eat in a single day and will offer free quarantine meals.
A nationwide lockdown will be in place until Friday at midnight, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
It is the first time the US has imposed a full lockdown on food in the pandemic, with authorities planning to open all public parks on Saturday.US President Donald Trump has been trying to get Americans to start eating healthy food for two weeks, which will be followed by an extended lockdown on Friday.
The federal government is working with health authorities to ensure food supplies are sufficient and there are enough personnel available to ensure that people are protected.
It is not clear how many people will be able to return home during the lockdown.
Health officials say they are making adjustments to allow people to be in the community, which includes hospitals and prisons, but that the exact number will be determined on Saturday night.
People will also be allowed outside on designated days.
The restrictions will be lifted on Friday at 10pm and will be extended for a week, the US Department in charge of public health said in a statement.
The ban will allow some people who were infected during the coronacovirus pandemic to return for a short period of time.
The move is expected to help reduce the number of people who are sick and possibly stop the spread.