President Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force, in the Brady press briefing room at the…
President Donald Trump speaks during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force, in the Brady press briefing room at the White House, March 16, 2020, in Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s new coronavirus guidelines for Americans lays out what people should and should not do for the next 15 days, giving strong encouragement to the public to stop most social activities to halt the spread of the pandemic.  

Announcing the new guidelines from his coronavirus task force, the president Monday said people should avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people and should avoid eating in restaurants, taking shopping trips and all discretionary travel. In states where there is community transmission of the virus, the guidelines advise governors to close areas where people congregate, including restaurants, gyms and other venues.   

"With several weeks of focused action, we can turn the corner and turn it quickly," Trump told reporters at the White House Monday.   

The measures urge people to work or be schooled from home whenever possible and to not visit nursing homes or long-term care facilities unless it is to provide critical assistance. Governors are encouraged to close schools in areas where there is evidence of community transmission of the virus. 

 

Vice President Mike Pence speaks as President Donald Trump listens during a press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House, March 16, 2020, in Washington.

Those who are instructed to maintain a normal work schedule are employees who work in critical industries, which include health care services, the pharmaceutical industry and food services. The guidelines say such workers “have a special responsibility” to keep showing up to work, unless they are sick.   

Anyone who is sick must stay home from work and contact their medical provider, according to the guidelines. Parents who have children who are sick must not send them to school, and if any household member is sick, all family members are instructed to stay home.   

The measures call for all older people, as well as all people with a serious underlying health condition, to stay home and away from all other people. Such health conditions include those that weaken the lungs or heart or impair the immune system.   

The advice tells those who are young and healthy that they are still at risk and that their activities can increase the risk for others. 

“It is critical that you do your part to slow the spread of the coronavirus,” the guidelines advise young people. 

In terms of hygiene, the guidelines call on people to wash their hands after touching any frequently used surface or item, to avoid touching the face, to sneeze and cough into a tissue or the elbow, and to frequently disinfect surfaces.  

The United States has recorded about 3,800 infections of coronavirus and at least 70 deaths. 

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