Washington: President Donald Trump issued new guidelines on Monday to help fight the coronavirus, including a recommendation that people avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people, discretionary travel, and going to bars, restaurants and food courts.
Trump said the new guidelines from his coronavirus task force applied for 15 days and were meant to slow the spread of the virus.
"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 said.
In a remarkable pivot after spending weeks minimizing the virus and urging calm, Trump endorsed “social distancing" behaviors that many Americans and their employers have already adopted. Additionally, several state and local leaders including the mayor of the U.S. capital, Muriel Bowser, had ordered schools closed and restaurants to limit service before Trump’s remars.
Just Sunday, Trump had encouraged Americans to buy fewer groceries after runs on stores and told them: “Take it easy. Just relax."
But on Monday, the president said the US may be fighting the outbreak until August or longer.
“Someday soon, hopefully, it will end and we’ll be back to where it was," he said, but he acknowledged: “It’s bad. It’s bad. We’re going to hopefully be a best case and not a worst case."
"With several weeks of focused action, we can turn the corner and turn it quickly," he said. Trump said his administration is 'looking into' asking army to build temporary hospitals and that postponing US elections would be 'unnecessary'.
Trump said a nationwide curfew was not under consideration at this point.
Trump said the U.S. economy could be heading into a recession. He said the administration has talked regularly about domestic travel restrictions but hopes not to have to put such things in place.
The president has faced criticism for his handling of the pandemic after earlier playing down its seriousness in the early days of the virus' spread.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.