#USPresident; #DonaldTrump; #NationalEmergency; #CoronavirusOutbreak
New York, Mar 13 (Canadian-Media): It was announced by U.S. President Donald Trump Friday that he is officially declaring the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency, media reports said.
Donald Trump. Image credit: Facebook page
He said the emergency would open up $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak.
Trump also authorized Secretary of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to waive federal regulations and laws of doctors and hospitals in treating patients.
He also announced a new public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing capabilities to speed up the process of testing including drive-through testing in some locations and an online portal to screen others.
Coronavirus had caused at least 40 deaths in the United States and had hit hard on other states including New York, California and Washington.
Responding to numerous complaints about the shortage of coronavirus tests in the U.S, the Department of Health and Human Services was asked by Trump administration to co-ordinate between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Meanwhile, it was announced by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier Friday that the House would soon approve its coronavirus aid package which builds on an emergency $8.3 billion US measure approved last week.
"We can only defeat this outbreak if we have an accurate determination of its scale and scope, so that we can pursue the precise science-based response that is necessary to put families first," Pelosi said.
Other provisions were the new sick leave benefits which would help 14-day quarantined workers to get 14 day of paid leave, unemployment benefits for those laid off during the crisis, boosting food and nutrition programs for working families, students and seniors and provide states additional Medicaid funds to cope with the crisis.
Although it was announced by several members of Congress that they would be going into self-isolation, neither Trump nor his daughter plan on getting tested currently, the White House said.