Trump praises Seoul’s virus responseU.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that Korea did a “good job” handling the coronavirus outbreak but also had “tremendous problems” at the start.
Trump made the remark at a White House press briefing as he defended his own administration’s response to the growing outbreak in the United States.
“I noticed a lot of people are talking about Korea because they’ve done a good job on one side, but on the other side, tremendous problems at the beginning,” he said. “They had tremendous problems and great numbers of death.”
Korea has received widespread praise for its handling of one of the worst outbreaks of the virus outside of China.
On Monday Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 74 new cases the previous day, the second straight day that new infections were in double digits. The total caseload stood at 8,236, with 75 deaths.
Latest figures from the U.S. CDC showed a total of 3,487 cases across the country and 68 deaths.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said the country is at a “critical inflection point” and compared the current numbers to Italy’s situation two weeks ago.
“We have a choice to make as a nation. Do we want to go the direction of Korea and really be aggressive and lower our mortality rates or do we want to go the direction of Italy?” he said in an interview on Fox News.
“And when you look at the projections, there’s every chance that we could be Italy,” he continued. “But there’s every hope that we will be Korea if people actually listen, if people actually social distance, if people do the basic public health measures that we’ve all been talking about as doctors all along, such as washing your hands, such as covering your cough, and cleaning surfaces.”
Trump used the press briefing to unveil a set of “coronavirus guidelines for America,” which began with the heading, “15 Days to Slow the Spread.”
The guidelines call for listening to and following the directions of state and local authorities, staying home if feeling sick, keeping children at home if they feel sick, and keeping the entire household at home if a member tests positive for the coronavirus.
On Friday Trump also announced the introduction of drive-through testing centers in the country while declaring a national emergency to free up to $50 billion in federal funds to fight the outbreak.
A week earlier he had questioned the effectiveness of such testing centers in Korea, saying, “We’re doing the whole thing in one stop. They’re doing samples in Korea. That’s a very different thing.”