WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is alleging that a foreign disinformation campaign is underway aiming to stoke fear amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Three U.S. officials said Monday that federal officials began confronting what they said was a deliberate effort by a foreign entity to sow fear of a nationwide quarantine. At a press briefing Monday, President Donald Trump said it could be that there are some foreign entities “playing games.” But he said it didn't matter because he was not ordering a nationwide lockdown.

The three U.S. officials did not name the foreign entity they believe to be responsible. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.

The White House on Monday urged all older Americans to stay home and everyone to avoid crowds and eating out at restaurants as part of sweeping guidelines meant to combat an expected surge of coronavirus cases.

President Donald Trump and the coronavirus task force released the guidelines as the U.S. government moved to try to blunt the impact of the virus. Among new guidelines: Over the next 15 days, Americans should not gather in groups of more than 10 people, schooling should be at home and discretionary travel and social visits should be avoided. If anyone in a household tests positive for the virus, everyone who lives there should stay home.

(Story written By ZEKE MILLER, COLLEEN LONG, JONATHAN LEMIRE, ANDREW TAYLOR and JILL COLVIN/AP)

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