Republicans insist Trump Tulsa rally won’t spread coronavirus – despite local concern
Republican lawmakers are downplaying concerns that a Donald Trump indoor rally planned for Tulsa, Oklahoma, for next weekend could contribute to the spread Covid-19, amid an increase in cases in the city.
The Tulsa city-county health department director, Bruce Dart, said he worried the rally could be dangerous for attendees as well as the president.
“I wish we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn’t as large a concern as it is today,” Dart told Tulsa World.
“I think it’s an honor for Tulsa to have a sitting president want to come and visit our community, but not during a pandemic. I’m concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event, and I’m also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe as well.”
Trump is set to travel to Oklahoma next Saturday, to stage his first rally since early March.
WHO cautions against further lifting of lockdown in England
England’s coronavirus lockdown should not be further lifted until the government’s contact-tracing system has proven to be “robust and effective”, the World Health Organization has said after widespread criticism of the first results of the new tracking operation.
As shops across England prepared to reopen, and people were encouraged by the government to come out of their homes and on to the high street, Dr Hans Kluge, the WHO’s director for Europe, cautioned that the UK remained in a “very active phase of the pandemic”.
His remarks came as ministers confirmed a review of the 2-metre distancing rule, with the government coming under pressure from business leaders, Tory backbenchers and rightwing media to further ease the lockdown. Boris Johnson said on Sunday that the falling numbers of coronavirus cases has given the government “more margin for manoeuvre” in easing the 2-metre physical distancing rule.
In response to data showing the government had failed to trace the contacts of a third of those testing positive in the first week of the new system, Kluge warned in an interview with the Guardian against rushing into reopening the economy.
The WHO official said the tracking in England of about 31,000 contacts of 8,000 infected people was encouraging and a cause for congratulations. But he added that Downing Street needed to be convinced it could “aggressively” track infections as the prime minister looks to reopen the economy.