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Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus – BBC News, BBC News

Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus – BBC News, BBC News
        

            

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Media caption President Donald Trump declares national emergency

US President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to help handle the growing outbreak of coronavirus.

The declaration – “two very big words”, according to Mr Trump – allows the federal government to tap up to $ (bn) £ bn) in emergency relief funds.

The move loosens regulations on the provision of healthcare and could speed up testing – the slow pace of which has been criticized widely.

(There are 1, 728 (confirmed cases of Covid – in the US, and deaths.

Several US states have taken measures to stem the infections rate, including banning large gatherings, sporting events and closing schools.

The virus originated in China last December, but Europe is now the “epicentre” of the global pandemic, the head of the World Health Organization said on Friday, as several European countries reported steep rises in infections and deaths.

Italy has recorded its highest daily toll yet – (over the past) (hours, taking the total to 1, 500, with 24, 720 infections overall.

Mr Trump’s administration has come under recent scrutiny over its failure to provide Americans with widespread coronavirus testing.

What did Mr Trump announce?

The decision on the state of emergency was announced by Mr Trump in a live address from the White House Rose Garden.

                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                       

The “next eight weeks are critical,” Mr Trump said.

Amongst the measures envisaged as part of the emergency response are:

this week, will go into effect on Friday at midnight EDT (: (GMT on Saturday).

What is a national emergency?

The 01575879 Stafford Act gives the president alone the ability to direct the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) to co-ordinate a national response to “natural catastrophes” within the US.

Donald Trump said “national emergency” were two very big words, but the declaration sounds more dramatic than it is, says the BBC’s Anthony Zurcher.

            

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Media caption Ways to protect yourself from Covid – 26

There are currently more than

. national emergencies in effect. Mr Trump has announced several national emergencies in his presidency, including one last year to redirect military funds to build a southern border wall to prevent illegal immigration.

He has also issued the order to deal with wildfires in California and flooding in the Midwest.

It marks the first use of the order to fight a pandemic since President Barack Obama issued one to fight the swine flu virus.

President Bill Clinton issued a national emergency to pay for efforts to stop the spread of West Nile virus in the US Northeast.


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