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Trump defends White House’s response to the coronavirus

AFP
Washington
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his administration’s response to the novel coronavirus, lashing the media for spreading panic as he announced an evening news conference on the epidemic.
It comes a day after a senior health official warned that, despite containment efforts, it was only a matter of time before the COVID-19 disease spreads in the United States.
“I will be having a News Conference at the White House, on this subject, today at 6:00 PM” Trump tweeted, adding that officials from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) would attend.
On Tuesday, the CDC urged US cities to be prepared to cancel mass gatherings and urged schools and businesses to develop teleworking plans, amid dire warnings that countries are not ready to contain an outbreak that has infected 80,000 people, mostly in China.
As of Wednesday, there were 59 cases of the infection in the United States. This included 45 people who were repatriated from a cruise ship off the coast of Japan or from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the heart of the epidemic.
Critics, including lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, have accused the Trump administration of downplaying the crisis and underfunding the response.