Coronavirus outbreak: Donald Trump declares national emergency over COVID-19 | FULL
The President of the United States on Friday announced the introduction of a state of emergency in the country in connection with the coronavirus pandemic and announced a number of specific measures aimed at combating the negative consequences of the epidemic.
Stock indexes rallied sharply during Trump’s press conference, posting the largest one-day gain since October 2008. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 1,985 points higher, or 9.4%, at 23,185.62 points, the largest ever one-day gain in the index..
Implementation of the emergency will free up up to $ 50 billion in financial resources for the efforts of US states and territories to help Americans affected by the epidemic.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned: «More coronavirus cases in coming weeks.
The number of positive tests in the US reached 2,006 as of Friday, according to NBC News. At least 42 people in the country have died after contracting the virus..
Trump announced the national emergency at a press conference at the Rose Garden at the White House, where he was joined by Vice President Mike Pence, who now leads his administration’s coronavirus task force..
Also with the president were members of this working group and executives from Target and Walmart who met with Trump earlier in the day..
«To unleash the full potential of the powers of the federal government … I officially declare a national emergency», – Trump said.
«The next eight weeks are critical», – said the president.
Officials announced that Google has launched a web-based questionnaire that people can fill out to determine if they have symptoms or risk factors that will warrant a subsequent coronavirus test..
Trump said he expects 1.4 million coronavirus test kits to be available in the U.S. within a week, and a total of 5 million kits within the next month. He then said he doubted the country would need such a large number of kits..
One reporter asked Trump if he was holding himself responsible for what Fauci said earlier in the week. «failure», due to the backlog in testing Americans for coronavirus.
The President replied: «No, I am not responsible at all».
Trump said he ordered all states to set up emergency centers and urged hospitals to adopt all necessary contingency plans..
But, Trump said, «we don’t want people to take a test if we feel like they shouldn’t, and we don’t want everyone to run to do it. Only if you have certain symptoms.»
Trump said he «most likely» he himself will be tested for coronavirus, but noted that he has no symptoms.
Last week, Trump posed for a photo at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida alongside Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who tested positive for the virus..
Bolsonaro himself, who dined with Trump during this visit, tested negative for coronavirus, his son reported on Friday..
Trump said the state of emergency would give new powers to Health and Human Services Minister Alex Azar to overturn existing rules that govern how hospitals admit patients and how long they can stay in them..
Seema Verma, Administrator for Federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced that all nursing home visits will be suspended, except in some cases, such as the death of a resident of the institution..
Trump also said he would write off all interest on student loan debt held by the federal government..
When Trump ended a press conference that lasted more than an hour, he walked away without answering as a reporter asked if he could explain why his recent prediction that the number of coronavirus cases will soon fall to zero did not come true..
Senate Democratic leader Senator Chuck Schumer of New York said: «I am delighted that the President heeded our calls for the implementation of the Stafford Act to provide vital financial assistance to help the American community fight the coronavirus epidemic.».
«I urge New York and other states to immediately request these new funds available and to see to it that the Trump administration approves these requests without delay.», – said Sumer.
Trump’s powers under the Stafford Act allow two types of presidential declarations.
The first is the emergency that Trump has already announced..
The second is a large-scale natural disaster that gives the emergency management agency even greater access to resources..
In both cases, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is responsible for what happens..
Earlier on Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron said that he, Trump and the rest of the G7 leaders «agreed to organize an emergency summit of leaders via videoconference on Monday on the situation around Covid-19».
«We will coordinate research on vaccines and treatments, and work on economic and financial measures», – Macron said on his twitter.
The US state of emergency announcement comes a day after Trump said he was not ready to make such a statement yet..
The announcement of the emergency situation put an end to the weekly debate in the White House about the need to enact the Stafford Act.
Those who opposed the declaration, which included Trump himself, feared it would cause panic in financial markets. They also feared the political consequences of this decision..
There have been over 138,000 known cases of coronavirus worldwide as of Friday, including about 5,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University..
There have been at least 1,700 known infections and at least 40 deaths in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University..