Hawaii governor says state not ready to ease restrictions

HONOLULU — Hawaii Gov. David Ige said the state has not met the U.S. government’s new recommended criteria for easing social distancing restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“We’re making progress but we’re not there yet. So please continue your hard work and perseverance,” Ige said at a news conference streamed online Thursday.

In particular, he said, the guidelines say there should be a downward trajectory of cases for 14 before the easing begins.

The relatively small number of cases — 11 — newly reported on Thursday gives Hawaii ground for optimism, Ige said. Yet, he said “we still have a long way to go.”

Hawaii has 541 cases of the disease, including nine people who have died.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump detailed a three-step set of guidelines for easing restrictions over a span of several weeks in places that have robust testing and are seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases, assuring the nation’s governors: “You’re going to call your own shots.”

Across the country, governors of both parties Friday suggested they would be cautious in returning to normal, some of them warning that they can’t do it without help from Washington to expand testing.

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