World

Trump says coronavirus under control, pushes for schools to reopen

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said the coronavirus outbreak is as under control as it can get in the US, where at least 155,000 people have died amid a patchy response to the public health crisis that has failed to stem a rise in cases.

Mr Trump continued to press for US schools to reopen in an overnight Twitter post, and defended his administration's response to the virus in an interview with the Axios news website released late on Monday.

"They are dying, that's true," he said. "It is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague."

Coronavirus cases continue to surge in the country and dozens of US states have had to pause or roll back their reopening plans.

With US deaths reaching a record 1,000 a day, Mr Trump pressed the view of deaths in proportion to the number of cases instead of as a proportion of the population, in which the US fares worse than other Western nations.

In the Axios interview, Mr Trump again insisted that increased diagnostic testing in the US accounted for the increase in cases, an assertion disputed by health experts.

Experts also call it a key tool in fighting the spread of the disease, which had been detected in at least 4.6 million people across the US as of Saturday.

In a separate development, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned yesterday that the world faces a "generational catastrophe" because of school closures amid the pandemic and said that getting students safely back to the classroom must be "a top priority".

Mr Guterres said that as of mid-July schools were closed in some 160 countries, affecting more than 1 billion students, while at least 40 million children have missed out on pre-school.

This came on top of more than 250 million children already being out of school before the pandemic and only a quarter of secondary school students in developing countries leaving with basic skills, he said in a video statement. - REUTERS

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