Trump urges Americans to limit social gatherings to 10 or fewer, Latest World News - The New Paper

Trump urges Americans to limit social gatherings to 10 or fewer

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WASHINGTON/NEW YORK The White House issued new US coronavirus guidelines on Monday, warning Americans to limit social gatherings to 10 or fewer people.

It also urged restaurants, bars and other public venues to close in states where local transmission of the virus exists.

But President Donald Trump refrained from ordering sweeping public quarantines or lockdowns for the time being.

But some state and local authorities imposed mandatory restrictions of their own on eateries, movie theatres and other places of leisure in a bid to contain the virus.

"We're recommending things," Mr Trump told a White House news conference.

"We haven't gone to that step yet" of ordering a lockdown. "That could happen, but we haven't gone there yet."

Mr Trump also said a nationwide curfew was not under consideration at this point, and that postponements of primary elections, like those announced in Georgia and Louisiana, were generally unnecessary.

The number of known coronavirus infections and deaths in the US paled in comparison with hot spots of the global pandemic, such as China, Italy or Iran. But the tally of confirmed US cases has multiplied quickly over the past few weeks, surpassing 4,300 and prompting fears American hospitals might soon be overwhelmed, as Italian ones have been.

At least 80 people in the US had died of the virus, as of Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University and public health agencies, with the hardest-hit state, Washington, accounting for the bulk of those fatalities, including six more announced on Monday.

The states of New Jersey, New York and Connecticut struck a regional agreement to close all movie theatres, casinos and gyms.

Restaurants and bars in the three states - where more than 22 million people live - will serve takeout and delivery only.

Meanwhile, the French government said it has no plans to implement a curfew to enforce the country's strict lockdown measures aimed at fighting the outbreak, said government spokesman Sibeth Ndiaye.

"We are not envisaging a curfew at this stage,"she said.

France's draconian measures kicked in at midday yesterday. - AFP, REUTERS