US President Donald Trump speaks to the media. File photo
New York and Illinois followed California Friday in locking down to stem the coronavirus pandemic as President Donald Trump declared the United States was already "winning" the war despite a rapid rise in confirmed cases and deaths.
The move effectively seals off America's largest cities — New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — with the states of New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Nevada following suit.
Global deaths from coronavirus exceed 10,000
UAE announces first two deaths from coronavirus
But Trump insisted there was no need for a national lockdown, arguing that other parts of the US weren't hurting as much as its most populous states.
Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered non-essential businesses to close and banned gatherings in New York state, a day after his counterpart Gavin Newsom told California's 40 million residents to stay home.
"We're all in quarantine now," Cuomo told reporters, warning of civil fines and mandatory closures for anyone violating the order, which takes effect on Sunday evening.
The restrictions so far imposed in seven states now cover around 100 million people.
The escalation came as COVID-19-linked deaths in the US rose to 249 -- more than doubling in three days -- with more than 19,000 confirmed infections, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Bill Gates warned about a pandemic just like the coronavirus
Burj Khalifa lights up in Spanish flag colours in solidarity with its people to combat coronavirus
Among the new cases was a staffer in the office of Vice President Mike Pence, the pointman for Washington's response to the coronavirus outbreak.
"Neither President Trump nor Vice President Pence had close contact with the individual," Pence's press secretary Katie Miller said of the latest confirmed case to brush the inner circle of US leadership.
Despite the surge in cases, Trump said the world's number one power was "winning" and "going to win this war."
"Those are really two hotbeds. Those are probably the two hottest of them all in terms of hotspots," Trump told the daily White House news conference, adding that states in the American Midwest were not registering as many confirmed cases.
"So no, we're working with the governors and I don't think we'll ever find that necessary," he added.
But shortly afterwards Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced an immediate stay-at-home order for the state "to avoid the loss of potentially tens of thousands of lives."
"The only strategy available to us to limit the increase in cases... is to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in the most robust manner possible," he said.
The order is in place from Saturday evening until April 7, Pritzker added.
Eric Garcetti, the Democratic leader of the United States' second-largest city, was sent a letter earlier Friday by federal authorities that said long-term restrictions "may be both arbitrary and unlawful."
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Following weeks of negotiations with the Democratic-led House of Representatives on a large and urgently-needed coronavirus-led spending bill which failed to produce an outcome to his liking, Donald Trump makes a show of signing a legally dubious executive action that — in his rendering of events — will allow him to get what he wants without regard for the pesky constitutional strictures that have bound every American president since George Washington.
US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that a coronavirus vaccine may be available within a month — an acceleration of even his own optimistic predictions — but added that the pandemic could go away by itself.
“To all those celebrating Nowruz, both in the UAE and around the world, I extend my best wishes to you and your families and hope that the year ahead brings you continued peace and prosperity.”
Beijing and Moscow's trade ties have boomed since Russia's Ukraine campaign, linking the nations more closely and raising worries in Western capital over how far the ties will go.
Imran Khan was prime minister from 2018 until 2022, when he was ousted from office in a parliamentary vote. Since then, he has been demanding a new election and holding protests across the country to press his case.