Trump declares national emergency to open up federal fund to combat coronavirus

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 14, 2020
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U.S. President Donald Trump (Front) addresses a news conference at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on March 13, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency to open up 50 billion U.S. dollars in federal aid to help combat the spread of COVID-19 across the country.

"I am officially declaring a national emergency. Two very big words," Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden.

The declaration would effectively create access to up to 50 billion U.S. dollars in federal aid to help Americans affected by the outbreak and help states fight the pandemic, according to the president.

Trump said he was empowering the secretary of health and human services to waive certain laws and regulations to ensure the virus can be contained and patients treated.

He also said that he was ordering every state in the country to set up emergency operation centers in a bid to help stem the spread of the disease.

The national emergency declaration "will unlock additional resources and authorities for states like Washington on the front lines of this crisis. I am hopeful the president's actions today will provide the assistance I asked for to help the workers, businesses, families and communities that are being impacted across Washington state," Washington Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement.

"It is incumbent on all of us to acknowledge the gravity of this public health emergency and take the necessary actions now - not tomorrow, not next week - to slow the spread of the virus and save lives." said Inslee.

Under the Stafford Act, an "infectious disease emergency declaration" by the president would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide disaster relief funding to state and local governments, as well as federal assistance to support the coronavirus response, according to a NBC News report.

The law allows the agency to circumvent legal barriers to more quickly distribute such aid.

The country reported 1,663 COVID-19 cases as of Thursday with at least 40 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

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