Coronavirus: President Donald Trump declares a 'national emergency'
President Donald Trump has declared that the United States is now under "national emergency" as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The POTUS is also invoking The Stafford Act - allowing for extra federal funding and access to emergency funds.
Speaking at a press conference from the Rose Garden in Washington, the President of the United States said:
"To unleash the full power of the federal government for this effort today, I am officially declaring a national emergency. Two very big words.
"The action I am taking will open up access to up to $50 billion of very important and a large amount of money for States and territories and localities in our shared fight against this disease.
"In furtherance of the order, I am urging every State to set up emergency operation centers effective immediately."
President Trump continued: "The emergency orders I am issuing today will also confer broad new authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services."
Per CNN, President Trump also announced that private labs and vaccine developers will be able to provide up to five million coronavirus tests within a month.
"Drive-thru testing sites" will also be set up in order to make tests more accessible - something that has been implemented in several other countries.
But despite the new measures, Trump urged the American public not to "run out" to be tested, saying:
"We don't want people to take a test if we feel that they shouldn’t be doing it. And we don’t want everybody running out and taking - only if you have certain symptoms."
During the press conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, praised President Donald Trump's emergency action on coronavirus, saying the move "removes the constraints" health, state, and local officials have had in attempting to contain the virus. He added:
"We still have a long way to go. There will be many more cases. But we'll take care of that and ultimately, as the President said, this will end".
President Trump also assured the American people that the coronavirus crisis "will pass".
During the conference in the Rose Garden, President Trump continued to shake hands with corporate chiefs, despite the fact health experts have warned against the practice in a bid to prevent community spread.
Per the Guardian, Trump said;
“We can learn and we will turn a corner on this virus. Some of these doctors say it will wash through, it will flow through. Interesting terms. And very accurate. In a number of weeks I think you will find it’s a very accurate term.”
Meanwhile, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer has responded to the news. His statement, per the Guardian, reads;
“I’m pleased the president heeded our calls to invoke the Stafford Act to extend vital financial assistance to help keep communities safe from the coronavirus outbreak. I urge New York and other states to immediately request these newly available funds and for the Trump administration to approve these requests without delay.
“As other steps are considered, the president must not overstep his authority or indulge his autocratic tendencies for purposes not truly related to this public health crisis.”
Per the Daily Mail, as of Friday afternoon, 1,800 people in the US had tested positive for coronavirus and 42 had died.
According to the most recent situation report from the World Health Organization, there has been 125,048 confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world, resulting in 4613 deaths. According to the New York Post and other news outlets, this number has since surpassed 5000 as of today.
More to follow...