Coronavirus: Trump says peak is passed and US to reopen soon

Thursday, April 16th, 2020 13:26 |
Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump. Photo/TASS
FormerUS President Donald Trump. Photo/TASS

President Donald Trump says the US has "passed the peak" of new coronavirus cases and predicted some states would reopen this month.

Mr Trump told the daily White House briefing that new guidelines would be announced on Thursday after he had spoken to governors.

"We'll be the comeback kids, all of us," the president said. "We want to get our country back."

The US has nearly 640,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases and over 30,900 deaths.

Mr Trump's comments came after New York City reported a rise in virus fatalities to 10,367.

The president has been at loggerheads with state governors about the timing of easing restrictions and reopening businesses. He has now conceded that his powers are limited to issuing guidelines.

"The data suggests that nationwide, we have passed the peak of new cases," Mr Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden on Wednesday.

"Hopefully that will continue, and we will continue to make great progress."

The co-ordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, Deborah Birx, said there had been a decline in confirmed cases across the country in recent days.

Asked why the US accounted for such a significant proportion of the global coronavirus death toll of more than 137,000, Mr Trump accused other countries of lying about their mortality rate.

"Does anybody really believe the numbers of some of these countries?" he said, naming China.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China must show "full transparency" on coronavirus, during a call with his Beijing counterpart, Yang Jiechi, the Department of State said.

Mr Pompeo has repeatedly accused Beijing of covering up the scale of the outbreak in the early days, which China denies.

President Trump said the US was looking into unverified reports that the coronavirus may have emerged from a laboratory in Wuhan, China, rather than in a market in the city.

"I will tell you more and more we're hearing the story and we'll see," Mr Trump said when asked about the claims at his daily briefing.

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