Trump claims campaign rallies are 'very safe' as the coronavirus spreads, even as some European countries ban large gatherings

Associated PressPresident Donald Trump speaks to reporters before leaving the White House, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020, in Washington, to attend a campaign rally in North Charleston, S.C. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
  • President Donald Trump insisted it is “very safe” to hold campaign rallies, which often involve gatherings of thousands of people, as the Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread in the US.
  • This comes as several countries, including Switzerland and France, have banned large gatherings of people as a way to slow the virus’ spread.
  • The virus has so far spread to more than 60 countries and infected more than 88,000 people. The disease COVID-19 has killed more than 3,000 people.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump insisted it is “very safe” to hold campaign rallies, which often involve gatherings of thousands of people, as the Wuhan coronavirus continues its spread in the US.

When asked by a reporter on Monday whether he thought it was “safe or appropriate” to hold rallies during a public health crisis, Trump first dodged the question and said Democrats should be asked the same question.

“These were set up a long time ago and others are,” Trump said. “You could ask that to the Democrats because they’re having a lot rallies.”

When pressed on whether Trump thinks it’s safe, he replied, “I think it’s very safe.”

This comes as schools across Idaho, Oregon, and Washington state have closed due to concerns about the virus. As of Monday, the coronavirus had spread to over 60 countries and infected more than 88,000 people. The disease it causes, known as COVID-19, has killed more than 3,000 people.

Trump’s position is also in contrast with that of several countries, including Switzerland and France, which have banned large gatherings of people as a way to slow the virus’ spread.

The Swiss government banned all gatherings of more than 1,000 people after identifying 15 cases of coronavirus in the country last week. The ban is set to last until at least March 15. Switzerland shares a border with Italy, where infections surged by 50% on Sunday to a total of 1,694 people.

The Japanese government last week closed all schools in the country for about a month after confirming about 210 cases.

In France, the government on Saturday instituted a ban on indoor gatherings of more than 5,000 people. And Paris’ famed Louvre Museum, which attracted 9.6 million largely foreign tourists last year, closed over staff concerns about the virus.

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