US President Donald Trump has backed away from imposing a quarantine in the New York area, instead directing a “strong Travel Advisory” be issued to limit the spread of the new coronavirus.
The announcement on Twitter came late on Saturday as criticism grew over Trump’s earlier call to prohibit travel in and out of virus hotspots in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
The United States now accounts for the highest number of coronavirus infections of any nation, recording more than 122,000 confirmed cases on Saturday. The death toll in the country surged past 2,000, more than double the figure from two days ago.
In Spain, the number of deaths from COVID-19, the illness caused by the new virus, rose to 5,690, and in hard-hit Italy, the death toll jumped above 10,000.
Worldwide, the number of cases has reached more than 660,000. More than 30,000 have died while some 139,000 people have recovered.
Here are the latest updates:
Sunday, March 29
01:15 GMT – South Korea reports 105 new cases, total at 9,583
Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 105 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total infections in the country to 9,583.
The death toll rose to 152, while a total of 5,033 people have fully recovered, the public health agency said.
00:50 GMT – Trump to issue ‘strong travel advisory’ for New York region
Trump said he will not impose a quarantine in the New York area, but would instead issue a “strong Travel Advisory” for the region.
In a Twitter post, Trump said made the decision after consulting with the White House task force leading the federal response and the governors of the three affected states.
He wrote: “I have asked the @CDCgov to issue a strong Travel Advisory, to be administered by the Governors, in consultation with the Federal Government. A quarantine will not be necessary.”
….Federal Government. A quarantine will not be necessary. Full details will be released by CDC tonight. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2020
00:40 GMT – Coronavirus deaths surge past 2,000 in US
The death toll from coronavirus infections in the US doubled in two days, surging past 2,000, according to a tally by the Johns Hopkins University.
The US now ranks sixth in deaths, after Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France.
Rhode Island announced its first two deaths from the coronavirus, leaving just three states with zero reported deaths: Hawaii, West Virginia and Wyoming.
00:33 GMT – New York governor slams quarantine idea as ‘anti-American’
Andrew Cuomo slammed Trump’s suggestion of a quarantine in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, saying a lockdown in the states would amount to “a federal declaration of war”.
“If you start walling off areas all across the country, it would be totally bizarre, counterproductive, anti-American, anti-social,” the governor of New York told CNN, calling the idea “preposterous” and illegal.
“It would be chaos and mayhem,” Cuomo said, adding that roping off the nation’s financial capital could “paralyse the economy” at a time Trump has called for measures to get the economy back on track.
00:00 GMT – Trump floats lockdown in New York region
Trump said he was considering a quarantine as early as Saturday for coronavirus hotspots in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut as part of an effort to contain the growing outbreak in the US.
“We’re thinking about certain things. Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hotspot,” he told reporters. “We might not have to do it, but there’s a possibility that sometime today we’ll do a quarantine, short-term, two weeks on New York. Probably New Jersey, certain parts of Connecticut.”
Hello, I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives, with Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Read all the updates from yesterday, March 28, here.