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Trump warns state governors to open places of worship — or he’ll do it himself

Coronavirus outbreak: Trump declares places of worship to be essential services, demands they reopen
WATCH: Coronavirus outbreak: Trump declares places of worship to be essential services

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday urged state governors to allow the reopening this weekend in the United States of places of worship which have been closed due to the coronavirus, warning that he will override governors who do not do so.

At a short appearance in the White House briefing room, Trump said he was declaring that places of worship — churches, synagogues and mosques — are providing essential services and thus should be opened as soon as possible.

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Places of worship have been closed along as part of stay-at-home orders most states have tried to control the spread of the coronavirus. With the infection rate declining in many areas, there is pressure to begin reopening.

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Coronavirus outbreak: White House press secretary receives backlash over claims reporters ‘desperately’ want churches to stay closed

Trump issued a warning to governors who refuse his appeal but did not say under what authority he would act to force the reopening of religious facilities.

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“If they don’t do it I will override the governors. In America we need more prayer, not less,” he said.

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Data tracked by Johns Hopkins University shows the U.S. has so far experienced 1.59 million cases of COVID-19, out of a global caseload of more than five million.

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More than 335,000 people have died around the world, including more than 95,000 Americans.

— With a file by Global News staff

Coronavirus outbreak: California governor says people can expect plan to reopen places of worship by Monday
Coronavirus outbreak: California governor says people can expect plan to reopen places of worship by Monday