U.S. declares national emergency as coronavirus spreads

U.S. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to free up $50 billion in federal resources to fight the coronavirus.

This loosens regulations on the provision of healthcare and may speed up testing.

“The spread of COVID-19 within our Nation’s communities threatens to strain our Nation’s healthcare systems,” said Trump in his declaration Friday. “As of March 12, 2020, 1,645 people from 47 States have been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.  It is incumbent on hospitals and medical facilities throughout the country to assess their preparedness posture and be prepared to surge capacity and capability.  Additional measures, however, are needed to successfully contain and combat the virus in the United States.”

Trump said this is the most aggressive and comprehensive effort to confront a foreign virus in modern history. 

“I am confident that by counting and continuing to take these tough measures, we will significantly reduce the threat to our citizens, and we will ultimately and expeditiously defeat this virus.”

Several U.S. states have taken measures to slow the infection rate, including banning large gatherings, sporting events, and closing schools.

New travel restrictions go into effect in the U.S. today.

Coronavirus originated in Wuhan China in December 2019. On Friday, however, the World Health Organization said Europe is now the “epicentre” of the pandemic.

In Italy, there are about 7,660 people infected.

U.S. government photo

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