Trump reveals plan to ease lockdown as US toll surges to 32,000

12:13 PM | 17 Apr, 2020
Trump reveals plan to ease lockdown as US toll surges to 32,000

WASHINGTON - As coronavirus cases continues to rise across the US, President Donald Trump has announced gradual reopening of states to recover from economic jolts caused by the pandemic lockdown.

Giving press briefing at the White House, the president said that the country is now being opened and governors of states have been allowed "to take a phased deliberate approach to reopening their individual states."

"Based on the latest data, our team of experts now agrees that we can begin the next front in our war," Trump said, adding: "We’re opening up our country."

The US currently has 654,301 confirmed cases and 32,186 deaths due to the COVID-19, and Trump has suggested some states, which are free from the virus, could reopen this month. His statements about reopening the economy comes after he claimed that cases has reached its peak in the US.

"America wants to be open and Americans want to be open," Trump said. "A national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution."

Prolonged lockdown could pose threat to health of public, he said, besides giving a warning about a sharp rise in mental and physical diseases, and drug abuse.

Terming the reopening the economy as one careful step at a time, he said that all each state’s governor are free to do what they want.

Under the guidelines, the lockdown will be lifted in three phases. Public will not be allowed non-essential travel and mass gatherings in the first phase while restaurants, worship places and sports venues "can operate under strict physical distancing protocols".

Non-essential travel will be allowed if no rise is witnessed in the coronavirus cases in the phase two. Schools and bars would also be allowed to operate with diminished standing-room occupancy".

Under phase three, states with downward trend in cases can allow public interaction, visits to care homes and hospitals. The states can also allow increase in the standing room capacity.