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New York to shut down as it becomes next coronavirus hotspot

Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for more medical supplies and doctors to be sent to the city of 8.5 million people.

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A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask due walks by a shuttered cinema off Times Square (John Minchillo/AP)

A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask due walks by a shuttered cinema off Times Square (John Minchillo/AP)

A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask due walks by a shuttered cinema off Times Square (John Minchillo/AP)

New York City’s mayor is preparing to order its 8.5 million people behind closed doors as it quickly becomes one of the world’s biggest coronavirus hotspots.

Bill de Blasio has called for masks and gowns to be provided as officials worldwide warn of a critical shortage of medical supplies.

He has asked President Donald Trump to have the US military take over the logistics of making and distributing medical supplies, while also requesting more doctors and other medics.

Mr de Blasio rold NBC’s Meet The Press: “I can’t be blunt enough. If the president doesn’t act, people will die who could have lived otherwise.”

He urged New York City to shut down at 5pm on Sunday except for essential services and workers.

Meanwhile, the top infectious disease expert in the US has promised critical supplies will not run out.

They will be “clearly directed to those hotspots that need it most”, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CBS’ Face The Nation.

But Dr Fauci and other emergency officials did not give hard figures on the number of masks or any other supplies on their way.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged federal officials to step in quickly as hard-hit states outbid each other for ever scarcer supplies, sometimes doubling or tripling prices.

There have been more than 27,000 coronavirus cases across the US and 375 deaths.

New York state accounted for 114 deaths, mostly in New York City, where there were more than 4,400 infections, but officials warned the concentration may be more because of increased testing.

On Sunday, New York passed Washington state, the first US hotspot, in the number of fatal cases.

Virus Outbreak Trump
Donald Trump is confident about beating the pandemic (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Negotiators from Congress and the White House have resumed top-level talks on a 1.4 trillion dollars (£1.2 trillion) economic rescue package for Washington, urged by President Donald Trump to strike a deal to steady a nation upended by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Trump appeared confident about the nation’s ability to defeat the pandemic soon even as health leaders acknowledged the US is nowhere near the peak of the outbreak.

Only China, Italy and Spain have reported more Covid-19 cases than the US.

Worldwide, more than 316,000 people have been infected and nearly 13,600 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

About 150 countries now have confirmed cases, with Italy and Iran reporting soaring death tolls.

Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte went on live TV to announce that he was tightening the country’s lockdown.

Italy now has more than 59,000 cases and 5,476 deaths.

“We are facing the most serious crisis that the country has experienced since the Second World War, Mr Conte told Italians during a broadcast at midnight.

Vatican Pope Virus Outbreak
Pope Francis looks out from the window of his studio overlooking St Peter’s Square (Andrew Medichini/AP)

Pope Francis again held his weekly Sunday blessing in his private library.

He has streamed the last several services since the virus started sweeping through Italy.

“To the virus pandemic, we want to respond with the universality of prayer, of compassion, of tenderness,’’ the Pope said.

He asked all Christian denominations to join in reciting the Our Father prayer on Wednesday at noon.

Pope Francis also plans to lead a global blessing to an empty St Peter’s Square on Friday.

The Urbi et Orbi blessing is normally reserved for Christmas Day and Easter.

Elsewhere, the long-haul airline Emirates said it will suspend the majority of its passenger flights from Wednesday over the outbreak.

Singapore, meanwhile, said it will fully shut its borders beginning on Tuesday.

In Spain, Europe’s hardest-hit country after Italy, intensive care units in some areas were close to their limits even before Sunday’s new tally of more than 28,500 infections and 1,750 deaths.

A field hospital with 5,500 beds was going up in a convention centre in Madrid and health officials warned more than 10% of the country’s health workers were now infected with coronavirus.

But there were some signs of hope. The Chinese city of Wuhan — where the global pandemic was first detected and the first city to be locked down — went a fourth consecutive day on Sunday without reporting any new or suspected cases.

Parks and other public gathering places were reopening in China as people return to work and businesses resumed.

PA