New York City’s mayor Bill de Blasio has declared a state of emergency to fight the spread of the coronavirus outbreak – as he criticised Donald Trump’s response.
Mr de Blasio signed the declaration and said he supported an announcement by New York governor Andrew Cuomo earlier on Thursday that banned gatherings of more than 500 people across the state.
He said 95 people have now been confirmed as having COVID-19 in New York City, but his team has predicted about 1,000 people could be infected by next week.
Mr de Blasio criticised Mr Trump’s response to the pandemic after the president took until Wednesday night to bring in any control measures, which included a travel ban on people from mainland Europe – but not the UK and Ireland.
Mr de Blasio said: “It’s not worth wasting breath on the wasted opportunities over the past few weeks.
“Last night the president showed much more connection to reality than before.
“But, he was silent on immediate approval of automated testing for coronavirus.
“We want to do widescale testing but we cannot do it without the federal government coming in.
“I believe localities, companies, will take it into their own hands if they do not get approval from federal government.”