Trump declares COVID-19 emergency

President Trump declares a coronavirus national emergency, clearing the way for funds to help deal with the rapidly spreading outbreak. Testing should ramp up in the coming days.

By

National News

March 13, 2020 - 4:42 PM

President Donald Trump declares a National Emergency as he speaks on COVID-19 coronavirus at a news conference with members of the Coronavirus Task Force in the Rose Garden of the White House Friday in Washington, D.C. Photo by Ken Cedeno/Abaca Press/TNS

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump announced Friday that he is declaring the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency, as Washington struggles with providing Americans with relief and officials race to slow the spread of the outbreak.

Speaking from the Rose Garden, Trump said, “I am officially declaring a national emergency.” He said it would free up as much as $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak. Trump also waived interest on federally held student loans and moved to prop up energy markets, by directing the Department of Energy to buy oil to fill the strategic petroleum reserve “‘right up to the top.”

Trump said he was also giving Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar emergency authorities to waive federal regulations and laws to give doctors and hospitals “flexibility” in treating patients.

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