Coronavirus: US states postpone presidential primaries | News | DW | 15.03.2020
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Coronavirus: US states postpone presidential primaries

A day after Louisiana pushed back its primaries because of fears over the new coronavirus, Georgia announced it's postponing the primaries until May. The candidates, meanwhile, have taken their election campaigns online.

The US state of Georgia has postponed its presidential primaries until May due to widespread fears over the rapid transmission of the SARS-COV-2 virus, state election officials announced Saturday. The decision came a day after Louisiana pushed back its primaries because of the pandemic.

"Events are moving rapidly and my highest priority is protecting the health of our poll workers, and the community at large," Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said. The primaries, originally scheduled for next week, have been postponed to May 19, when the state will hold elections for other offices.

Louisiana said it would reschedule its April 4 primary to June 20. The delay is "to best protect the health and safety of Louisiana voters and voting officials," Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin said on Friday.

Read more: Coronavirus latest: France imposes widespread closures

Four other states holding their primaries next week said they will go ahead with the elections as planned.

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Digital town halls

The Democratic primary race has turned into a two-man contest between former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. As the deadly coronavirus continues to spread across the United States, both candidates have canceled public rallies and have instead taken their campaigns online.

Biden held a town hall in Illinois from his home state Delaware on Friday, albeit with multiple technical glitches. Sanders, on the other hand, has been staging daily news conferences from Vermont.

Read more: Joe Biden wins four US states on 'Big Tuesday,' reaches out to Bernie Sanders

On Saturday, Sanders held a "fireside chat" from his home in Burlington taking questions from an audience. The session was livestreamed on Twitter

On Sunday, Sanders and Biden will engage in their first one-on-one TV debate. The debate will be held without an audience at a Washington TV studio out of public health concerns. 

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As of Saturday, the total number of COVID-19 infections in the United States stood at over 2,700, with more than 50 deaths, according to John Hopkins University. 

adi/sri (Reuters, AP)

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