July 5, 2020 / 3:19 PM / a month ago

Too soon to say if safe to hold Republican convention in Florida -U.S. official

WASHINGTON, July 5 (Reuters) - A top Trump administration health official said on Sunday it was not clear whether it will be safe to hold the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville next month, as Florida sees record numbers of coronavirus cases.

The Republican Party moved most of the convention activities to Jacksonville from Charlotte after a battle over coronavirus safety concerns with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat.

With record numbers of people testing positive for the virus in the city and across Florida, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn was asked if it would be safe to hold the typically large gathering in just seven weeks.

“I think it’s too early to tell,” Hahn said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “We will have to see how this unfolds in Florida and elsewhere around the country.”

Republican President Donald Trump thrives on large crowds at his campaign rallies and has not embraced masks or social distancing measures at campaign events he has held since the country began reopening from the coronavirus shutdown.

Jacksonville, led by Republican Mayor Lenny Curry, began requiring masks in public last week after cases continued to rise. (Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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