US gov’t urges people leaving New York to self-quarantine

(Update 1 adds New York, fiscal stimulus progress and stock market info, details throughout)

Washington, Mar 24 (efe-epa).- The Donald Trump administration on Tuesday urged anyone who has left New York in the last few days to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days in the light of the coronavirus outbreak in the state, which now accounts for half of the cases in the country.

White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, indicated that people who are leaving the city could be spreading the virus.

“Everyone who has left New York over the last few day… should be self-quarantining for the next 14 days to ensure that the virus doesn’t spread to others, no matter where they have gone, whether it’s Florida, North Carolina, or out to far, far reaches of Long Island,” Birx said during a White House press briefing.

New York State has more than 26,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and while the death toll stood at 271, making it the hotspot region of the country, which has 54,000 confirmed cases and 775 deaths recorded so far.

Birx said that the new cases in Long Island, outside New York indicates that people who have left the city are spreading the infection.

Fauci added that people leaving the city and moving towards other areas was, “a very serious situation.”

The expert said that “the infection rates are roughly one in 1,000 in the New York City metropolitan area.”

“Understandably, people want to get out of New York,” Fauci said and added that they must be careful.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he would like to “open up” the country by Apr. 12, apparently meaning he’d like the public to go back to work despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

“I would love to have the country opened up and raring to go by Easter,” said Trump in an interview with Fox News.

“I think Easter Sunday, and you will have packed churches all over our country. I think it would be a beautiful time and it’s just about the timeline that I think is right,” he later added.

Trump said that he believed the human cost of having people remain at home for an indefinite period would be greater than the cost in terms of risking an overburdened healthcare system and the economic downturn accompanying the stay-at-home and self-isolation measures ordered by many states and municipalities.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said: “I think the notion that we could be quote-unquote back to normal in April is absolutely inconceivable at this point” and was looking at months, not weeks.

Once again, Republicans and Democrats could not agree on the massive fiscal stimulus package worth around $2 trillion to mitigate the negative effects of the crisis, despite Trump’s insistence on a Congress approval on Tuesday.

So far, the Senate has twice rejected two Republican proposals that received criticism from the Democratic opposition, which demanded strict supervision of business support funds and greater support for ordinary citizens.

However, the Democrats Tuesday gave signs that the deal was close and both sides are working to announce it before markets open on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, it was another historic day for the financial markets, which are experiencing unprecedented rises and collapses.

Wall Street closed Tuesday with strong gains, and the Dow Jones, its main indicator, shot up 11.37 percent, its best day since 1933, due to expectations of the impending agreement in Congress on the fiscal stimulus to protect the economy against to the pandemic.

At the end of operations on the New York Stock Exchange, the Dow Jones rebounded an impressive 2,112.98 points, registering the largest absolute rise in its history to stand at 20,704.91 points, boosted by the jumps of Chevron (23 percent), American Express (22 percent), Boeing (20 percent) or McDonald’s (18 percent). EFE-EPA

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