President Trump declares ‘national emergency’ to free up billions of dollars to fight COVID-19

coronavirus

President Donald Trump speaks in an address to the nation from the Oval Office at the White House about the coronavirus Wednesday, March, 11, 2020, in Washington. (Doug Mills/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump announced that he is declaring the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency. He spoke to the American people from the Rose Garden about efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19.

Trump says the emergency will open up nearly $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak

The Trump administration is scrambling to broaden testing for the coronavirus with a flurry of new measures. Federal officials announced a new “testing czar,” emergency approval of a new high-volume testing system and a hotline for resource-stretched labs.

Those moves came a day after one of the government’s top health officials called the initial testing effort “a failing” and health care professionals, politicians and patients across the country complained about lack of access to testing in the U.S. Public confusion persisted over who should be tested and how to get checked for the disease.

Negotiations continue between the White House and Congress on an aid package, but there was no announcement of a breakthrough, as House Democrats prepare to vote on their own measure Friday

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