coronavirus: Stay at home and save lives: President Trump

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump gave a clarion call to fellow Americans to “stay home and save lives” as the number of people infected by the deadly coronavirus continues to soar from coast to coast and has crossed 300,000 mark.

As of Saturday, there were at least 26,574 confirmed cases of the deadly coronavirus in the US, an increase of more than 7,000 in a day alone.

The number of Americans who have died so far are 340, with as many as 80 have lost their lives in the last 24 hours.

“We say, ‘stay at home and save lives.’ This is a time of shared national sacrifice, but it’s also a time to treasure our loved ones and to take stock of what is most important: our faith, our families, our neighbours, and our great country,” Trump told reporters at a White House news conference.

With States and local governments issuing orders to stay at home, about 75 million residents in California, Illinois, New York and Connecticut have been directed to sequester. Connecticut has even said that people would be imposed fine in case of any violation.

There has been no such notification by the federal government, but Trump himself made a clarion call to his fellow citizens to stay indoors.

“We are going to have a great victory. We’re going to be celebrating a great victory in the not-too-distant future,” he said.

Joining the fight against the novel coronavirus, almost all temples and gurudwaras in the US have announced that they have closed for public services. Almost all the Indian-American community events across America have been cancelled.

“The American people are coming together. They’re responding with common sense, compassion, and generosity,” Vice President Mike Pence told reporters at the White House news briefing.

Several Indian-American non-profit bodies have been running 24X7 helpline and providing food to the needy.

“People are heeding the advice of state and local authorities, and tens of millions of Americans are putting into practice the ’15 Days to Slow the Spread’. We are officially, six days into our 15 days. And as we look all across this country, while we strongly support the decisions that governors in states where there is significant outbreak, we encourage every American to listen to the authorities,” Pence said.

“For every American, this is what you can do to make a difference over the next week and a few days to protect your health, protect your family’s health, but most especially slow the spread and the potential for the coronavirus to impact the most vulnerable,” Pence said.

According to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker, the death toll from the virus globally has risen to 13,044 with 307,104 cases reported in 171 countries and territories.

President Trump said that he has been in communication with foreign countries.

The president has himself spoken with several world leaders, including France and Britain and those from neighbouring Canada and Mexico. The US border with Mexico and Canada have been close for all non-essential travel.

“This has been a week of national action and of great national solidarity. People are getting along. We’re getting along with Republicans and Democrats and independents and liberals and conservatives. And actually, it’s a very nice thing to see. We’re all one beautiful, big American family, and that’s taking place right now,” Trump said.

The administration, he said, is taking all measures to come to the rescue of various sections of the society including individuals, small and medium businesses, hotels, restaurants and travel industry, and large multinationals like corporations like Boeing.

Trump also assured that there is no shortage of food material and essential commodities as he thanked companies like Walmart and other grocery stores to make sure that there their shelves were stacked with essential items.

“They are doing incredible. They have put on tremendous extra staff. You don’t have empty shelves. Lot of things have happened that are very good,” he said.

In addition, Trump also had a telephonic conversation with religious leaders of the country.

The US, he said, has dramatically expanded telehealth, so Americans can see a doctor without leaving home. This is — something which more and more people are using, he said.

“I think we’re going to change the way our country functions, medically and probably in other ways, because of what’s going on right now. This will reduce the chance of infection and preserve hospital capacity. So it solves a lot of problems,” Trump said.

“Every American has a role to play in defending our nation from this invisible, horrible enemy. It really is an invisible enemy. We will be very successful — hopefully very much sooner than people would even think,” said the US president.

The virus that first emerged in China’s Wuhan city has killed 3,261 people and infected 81,054 by the end of Saturday.

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