Trump says US state of Georgia loosening coronavirus curbs too soon, Latest World News - The New Paper

Trump says US state of Georgia loosening coronavirus curbs too soon

This article is more than 12 months old

WASHINGTON : President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he strongly disagrees with the US state of Georgia's aggressive push to reopen its economy amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying it is "just too soon" to lift some restrictions.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, a Republican and Trump ally, is allowing businesses such as beauty salons, tattoo parlours and bowling alleys to reopen as soon as today. Mr Trump said Georgia is not adhering to federal guidelines for states to restart their economies.

"It's just too soon. I think it's too soon," Mr Trump said. "They can wait a little bit longer, just a little bit - not much. Because safety has to predominate. We have to have that."

Georgia has had more than 20,000 cases of Covid-19 and has seen more than 800 deaths.

But Mr Trump at his daily briefing on the pandemic largely projected optimism in the nation's battle against the virus. He said he was encouraged to see other states begin to open up their economies and ease restrictions.

Mr Trump's top adviser on the pandemic, Dr Anthony Fauci, said mitigation strategies were working, setting the stage for states to reopen. He urged Mr Kemp to proceed with caution.

"If I were advising the governor, I would tell him, be careful, I would tell him not to just turn the switch on and go," Dr Fauci said, adding that Georgia could see a rebound of the virus, further damaging the state's economy.

In response, Dr Kemp on Twitter praised Mr Trump's leadership but said the state would move forward as planned.

"Our next measured step is driven by data and guided by state public health officials. We will continue with this approach to protect the lives - and livelihoods - of all Georgians," he said.

Mr Trump downplayed the chances that the coming fall or winter could bring another serious wave of Covid-19 cases combined with outbreaks of seasonal flu.

"We will not go through what we went through in the last few months," Mr Trump said. "It may not come back at all."

Instead, he said there could be "embers of corona" that could combine with flu to create "a mess".

Dr Fauci, however, said the country needs to be prepared for a second wave. "We will have coronavirus in the fall. I am convinced of that," he said. - REUTERS