Coronavirus: You Don’t Need To Hoard Essentials, Trump Tells Americans

US President Donald Trump on Sunday told the public to stop panic-buying and other supplies amid the coronavirus crisis as his response to the outbreak came under fire.

“You don’t have to buy so much. Just relax,” he said at a White House news conference.

“There’s no need for anybody in the country to hoard essentials,” Trump added.

His message came as people across the U.S. have cleared supermarket shelves of canned foods and toilet paper.

Online retail giant Amazon said it was “currently out of stock on some popular brands and items, especially in household staples categories”.

Earlier in the day, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio blasted the U.S. government’s response to the virus outbreak.

“If the federal government doesn’t realise this is the equivalent of a war already, there’s no way that the states and localities can make all the adjustments we need to,” de Blasio told broadcaster CNN.

Trump’s administration needed to take control of the supply chain of medical supplies and ramp up the country’s testing capacity, he added.

Later on Sunday, de Blasio announced the closure of the country’s largest public school system from Monday until at least April 20.

It will affect nearly 1,900 schools in New York, as the city joins a growing number of communities and states to shutter schools in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

He also announced that the city would close restaurants, bars, and cafes – apart from for delivery and take-out orders – as part of measures to limit the spread of the virus, authorities said.

Starting at 9 am (1400GMT) on Tuesday, nightclubs, cinemas, and concert venues “must all close,” de Blasio tweeted.

“This is not a decision I make lightly.

“But our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a wartime mentality,” he wrote.

Washington state and the City of Los Angeles announced similar measures shortly after.

“Given the explosion of COVID-19 in our state and globally, I will sign a statewide emergency proclamation tomorrow to temporarily shut down restaurants, bars, and entertainment and recreational facilities,” Washington State Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement.

Inslee also said that “all gatherings with over 50 participants are prohibited” and that the measures would be effective immediately in King County, the heart of the state’s outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended in a statement on Sunday that gatherings of 50 people or more should be cancelled or postponed for the next eight weeks across the US.

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