Louisiana postpones Democratic presidential primary over coronavirus

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, center, speaks about the new coronavirus, while Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, right, listens on Thursday, March 12, 2020, in Baton Rouge, La. (AP)

Louisiana on Friday became the first US state to postpone its Democratic presidential primary in a bid to stem the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic.

With schools closing nationwide and an increasing number of Americans staying home, the Deep South state said the vote would go ahead on June 20 – 11 weeks after the planned date of April 4.

“The law provides for extraordinary measures to be taken when facing disasters,” Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said.

The decision comes with the race for the party’s presidential nomination undecided, days before voting in Ohio, Florida, Arizona and Illinois -- which have all reported infections.

Millions were expected to choose between former vice president Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders, who are vying for the chance to face Republican President Donald Trump in November’s election.

Confirmed coronavirus cases in the US topped 1,700 on Friday, with 41 deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University and the Centers for Disease Control.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:05 - GMT 07:05