Bill de Blasio
Bill de Blasio Reuters

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday that schools in New York City would close as of Monday as the city deals with the spread of the coronavirus.

"We will make a first attempt to restart our schools on Monday, April 20th," de Blasio said at a press conference, according to The Hill, adding that take-home meal services would be available at New York City public schools for the next five days.

At Sunday's press conference the mayor also announced that the total number of deaths in the city had risen to five, all of which had occurred in the past three days.

Several of those who had died were suffering from pre-existing conditions when diagnosed with the coronavirus, de Blasio said.

The mayor also added that he would sign an executive order Monday directing hospitals in the city to cancel all elective surgical procedures as they retool their facilities to deal with increasing numbers of sickened New Yorkers.

De Blasio had initially resisted calls to fully close the schools, citing the thousands of children who rely on public schools for daily meals, telling CNN earlier in the day that public safety issues could also arise.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had called for the city to make the move earlier in the day.

Last Thursday, de Blasio declared a state of emergency in an effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, after the number of confirmed cases in the city had more than doubled over a period of 24 hours.

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