Coronavirus: New York postpones presidential primary

A man wears a face mask as he visits a rainy Times Square in New York on March 28, 2020.
A man wears a face mask as he visits a rainy Times Square in New York on March 28, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (AFP) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday (March 28) the state will postpone its presidential primary election by nearly two months, citing concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The vote, which had been slated for April 28, will instead take place on June 23, Cuomo said.

That was a longer delay than in several other states that have postponed voting, but New York has been hit much harder by the virus than any other US state.

Two of the other states most affected by Covid-19 have already voted - California on March 3 and Washington on March 10 - while New Jersey voters are to cast ballots on June 2.

"I don't think it's wise to be bringing a lot of people to one location to vote," Cuomo said during a daily briefing on the spread of the virus.

New York so far has reported 52,318 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 728 deaths.

Ten other American states, as well as the US territory of Puerto Rico, postponed their primaries earlier.

Other states are shifting to exclusively mail-in balloting.

Former US vice-president Joe Biden currently holds a strong lead in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

He controls 1,217 delegates to the party's nominating convention in July, compared to 914 for Senator Bernie Sanders, his last remaining rival. Nomination requires a total of 1,991 delegates.