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Coronavirus US live: New York governor warns parks could be closed if social distancing is ignored

UniqueThis 5 Mar 25

17:37

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has criticized the Trump administration’s plans to curtail social distancing guidelines in the coming weeks amid anxiety about economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis, saying it could prove “catastrophic”.

“Think about the science — not the science of Wall Street, the science of medicine,” the Democratic frontrunner said in a virtual press conference on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump said he was aiming to roll back the guidelines in the coming weeks, not months, to ease pressure on the US economy, and would like to see churches packed on Easter Sunday (12 April).

Public health officials and state governors have rejected the timeline, cautioning that the outbreak may be worse by then, not better.

ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics)

Joe Biden on proposals to curtail social distancing guidelines amid anxiety about economic fallout: "Think about the science—not the science of Wall Street, the science of medicine." https://t.co/ZMZabru4dz pic.twitter.com/Gs7w17vlTQ

March 25, 2020

Updated

17:15

Julian Borger

Julian Borger

At his briefing on the G7 video conference this morning, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo also stressed that the US was helping Italy and was ready to do more.

There has been substantial coverage of Chinese and Russian deliveries of medical supplies to Italy, and speculation that the US is losing soft power.

“I made it clear to our G7 partners, especially to our friends in Italy and the rest of Europe, that the United States remains committed to assisting them in all ways possible,” Pompeo said.

“This past Saturday, the United States Air Force sent a C130 filled with medical supplies to Italy. The US military is also finalizing plans to make some of its excess medical equipment deployed there available to our Italian friends.”

Defense One has reported military flights bringing nasal swabs from northern Italy to Memphis on March 16. Pompeo is suggesting it has been two-way traffic.

The secretary of state also pointed to US charities that are helping, citing the Samaritan’s Purse organisation which he said had set up a 68 field hospital in Cremona, a badly hit city in northern Italy.

“This is the American people’s famous generosity, at its finest,” he said.

Updated

17:08

Julian Borger

Julian Borger

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has been giving a briefing on the virtual G7 foreign ministers meeting that began by videoconference at 7am (ET). He said the main focus was the coronavirus, which Pompeo made a point of calling the “Wuhan virus”.

According to a report in Der Spiegel, the G7 ministers have not so far been able to agree on a joint statement because of Pompeo’s insistence that it should refer to the disease as the “Wuhan virus”, a suggestion that was rejected by other members of the group of prosperous democracies.

Asked about the disagreement this morning, Pompeo did not answer directly, but did not deny it.

“I always think about these meetings, the right answer is to make sure we have the same message coming out of it,” he said. “I’m confident that when you hear the other six foreign ministers speak, they will have a common understanding of what we talked about today, and we will talk about the things that we have agreement on.”

Donald Trump has called the disease the “China virus”. Although the president has not used the phrase in his last couple of White House briefings, the administration is clearly still seeking to emphasise Chinese culpability.

“The Chinese Communist Party poses a substantial threat to our health and way of life, as the Wuhan virus outbreak clearly has demonstrated,” Pompeo said this morning.

Updated

16:38

Tom Lutz

Tom Lutz

The president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, had been taking plenty of criticism for his delay in postponing the Tokyo 2020 games, which were due to start on 24 July. Bach is citing an interest figure, not noted for his sports or medical expertise in his defence: US president Donald Trump

“In the last couple of weeks the measures of many governments, they were limited until middle of April, some beginning of May,” Bach said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “You have maybe seen the latest declarations there in the United States from President Trump about the prospect of, middle of April, there being able to lift many restrictions.”

Trump may not be the best witness for Bach to call in his defence.

The US president said on 12 March he thought that the Olympics should be delayed. The IOC is now looking for dates in 2021 when the Games can take place.

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