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New York mayor calls for nationwide US lockdown

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New York (AFP)

New York's mayor urged US President Donald Trump Monday to enforce a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus, as he pleaded for desperately needed hospital supplies.

Bill de Blasio said America's federal government should roll out orders -- such as "shelter-in-place" in California and similar measures installed in New York -- across the world's number one power.

"They need to be everywhere," he told CNN, describing the illness's "oxygen" as human-to-human interaction.

"Unless you create social distancing... thousands of lives will be lost that could have been saved. It's as simple as that," de Blasio added.

Around a third of Americans are on various phases of virtual lockdown, including in the country's three biggest cities of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Some eight states, including Illinois and New Jersey, have ordered residents to stay indoors unless essential, but Trump has so far resisted calls to announce a uniform shutdown.

New York City is now the epicenter of America's outbreak, with around 11,000 confirmed cases and more than 90 deaths, after the outbreak first spread in Washington state.

"It's going to be bad this week, it's going to be worse the following week. We have to be honest about this, this is just the beginning," warned de Blasio.

The mayor added that the city's public hospitals only have enough medical supplies to get through the week and urged the federal government to speed up production.

"I literally want to see hundreds of ventilators, I want to see first hundreds of thousands and millions of masks. If that doesn't come in starting this week, we will get to a point where people can't be saved who could have been saved," he said.

On Sunday, Trump ordered thousands of emergency beds to be set up in New York, California and Washington State to help overwhelmed hospitals.

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