Biden proposes deploying military against coronavirus

Washington DC, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- Former United States vice president and Democratic nominee hopeful Joe Biden proposed on Monday deploying the military to help the country’s authorities in their response to the coronavirus outbreak.

“I would call out the military,” Joe Biden said on Sunday night during the Democrats’ presidential debate with Vermont senator Bernie Sanders in Washington, DC.

“They have the capacity to provide this surge, help that hospitals need, and that is needed across the nation,” he added.

Biden recalled how under Barack Obama, the US sent some 4,000 troops to West Africa in 2014 during the Ebola epidemic.

Biden, who was Obama’s vice-president between 2009-2017, made his proposal during the televised debate on CNN with Sanders, his primaries rival, in response to a question on whether he would deploy the military in order to contain the virus.

Meanwhile, Sanders did not respond directly to the question asked by the debate moderators and merely said: “I think we use all of the tools that make sense.”

One such option, he added, would be to deploy the National Guard, the US army reserve under the control of the state authorities that can be placed under the authority of the country’s president in exceptional circumstances.

The first segment of the debate focused on how the two main front runners for the Democratic presidential nomination to challenge Donald Trump for the White House would respond to the virus, which has led to some 3,200 cases and 62 deaths in the US, in addition to the closure of schools, restaurants and shops in many of the 50 states in the country.

While Biden said that the government must ensure free treatment for the coronavirus, Sanders defended his Medicare For All program, which would end private health insurance and guarantee healthcare to all people as a right.

Sanders added that first, Trump had to shut up “because he is undermining the doctors and the scientists who are trying to help the American people.”

The two agreed that undocumented immigrants in the US should be able to be tested for the virus without fear of deportation.

“This is something that is of great consequence. This is like a war. And in a war, you do whatever is needed to be done to take care of your people,” Biden said.

The event, the first one-on-one debate of the Democratic race, was to be held in Phoenix, Arizona, but it was moved to CNN’s studios in Washington, DC, with no live audience on account of the rapid spread of the virus.

Biden, 77, and Sanders, 78, greeted each other by rubbing elbows instead of shaking hands.

Both candidates, who fall into the higher risk age group, said during the debate that they were taking plenty of precautions against the virus, including washing their hands often and using sanitizers. EFE-EPA


Related Articles

Back to top button