Trump's coronavirus guidelines: avoid social gatherings, bars, restaurants, gyms

US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, US on February 12, 2020. (Reuters)

US President Donald Trump urged Americans on Monday to halt most social activities for 15 days and not congregate in groups larger than 10 people in a newly aggressive effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.

Announcing new guidelines from his coronavirus task force, the president said people should avoid discretionary travel and not go to bars, restaurants, food courts or gyms.

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As stocks tumbled, Trump warned that a recession was possible, a development that could affect his chances of re-election in November. The Republican president said he was focused on addressing the health crisis and that the economy would get better once that was in line.

“We’ve made the decision to further toughen the guidelines and blunt the infection now,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “We’d much rather be ahead of the curve than behind it.”

Trump has faced criticism for playing down the seriousness of the virus in the earlier days of its spread.

 

He has sought to portray a competent, coordinated government response in recent days while conceding on Monday that the virus was not under control.

That contrasted with his remarks only a day before, when he called the virus contagious but said the administration had “tremendous control” of it.

“I’m saying we are doing a very good job within the confines of what we’re dealing with,” Trump said when asked about his “control” comment from Sunday. He said his remark then referred to his administration’s response. “If you’re talking about the virus, no, that’s not under control for any place in the world.”

Asked to grade his response on a scale of 1 to 10, Trump gave himself a 10. Critics disagree.

Trump said the worst of the virus could be over by July or August, a more specific and lengthier timeframe than he has previously suggested. He called it an invisible enemy.

“With several weeks of focused action, we can turn the corner and turn it quickly,” he said.

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Last Update: 01:15 KSA 04:15 - GMT 01:15
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