Trump promises ‘biggest news ever’
US President Donald Trump said today's news conference will be the "biggest news conference ever" as he prepares to announce his plan to reopen the country.
Mr Trump has been putting together a controversial plan to reopen the country despite criticism from the Democrats and warnings from health professionals that the consequences could be devastating.
The "Opening Up America Again" plan means states that show a downward trend of COVID-19 cases will be able to reopen their restaurants, bars, theatres, workplaces, sporting centres and gyms as soon as May 1, according to the New York Post.
Major News Conference tonight, the White House at 6:00 P.M. (Eastern), to explain Guidelines for OPENING UP AMERICA AGAIN!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 16, 2020
"Bottom line, if you're ready and you have those beautiful, low numbers like some of you have, let's get going, let's open up your state," Mr Trump told state leaders in a largely friendly call where he praised governors for their hard work.
Under the guidelines, states will need to demonstrate a downward trajectory of COVID-19 cases over a 14-day period and a "robust" system for testing healthcare workers before they can proceed to a phased opening.
Mr Trump said on Wednesday that data indicated the US was "past the peak" of the epidemic. He said the numbers had "put us in a very strong position to finalise guidelines for states on reopening the country".
White House coronavirus task force co-ordinator Dr Deborah Birx said data from across the US showed the nation "improving", but said Americans had to recommit to social distancing to keep up the positive momentum.
Business leaders also raised concerns to the President in a round of calls on Wednesday, warning that a dramatic increase in testing and wider availability of protective equipment would be necessary before they could safely revive operations.
Mr Trump unveiled his administration's plans to ease social distancing requirements while on a phone call yesterday with the nation's governors.
The most hard-hit areas of the US, including New York State, will be required to continue sheltered in place until the situation improves in their area.
- with AP