Unclear if RNC can be safely held in Florida after move from Charlotte

A top Trump administration health official says it is not clear whether it will be safe to hold the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Jacksonville next month as Florida sees record numbers of coronavirus cases.

The comments on Sunday came a month after Republican officials moved the event from North Carolina over a dispute over health precautions.

Also, Stephen Hahn, the Food and Drug Administration commissioner, refused to confirm Trump’s claim that 99 percent of coronavirus cases were harmless and called the situation a “serious problem”.

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

The Charlotte Observer reported the governor would not guarantee the event could be held at full capacity in August.

Cooper also said in a letter to Republican National Convention officials that face masks and social distancing would be a necessity at such a gathering.

Trump, in a tweet, said the governor had made it “absolutely impossible for the Republican Party to have its Convention there”.

Meanwhile, the city of Jacksonville, led by Republican Mayor Lenny Curry, began requiring masks in public last week after the number of cases continued to rise.

The Democratic Convention in Milwaukee, which will nominate Joe Biden, has already decided to go largely virtual and the Biden campaign has asked delegates not to attend in person, to protect everybody’s health.

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