Washington, Mar 13 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday to cope with the effects of the cororavirus outbreak in the United States.
“To unleash the full power of the federal government I am officially declaring a national emergency. Two very big words,” he told a news conference at the White House. “No resource will be spared – nothing whatsoever.”
Trump said that the move would make it possible for state and municipal governments to receive as much as $50 billion in federal funding to enable them to better cope with the coronavirus, known as Covid-19.
“I’m urging every state to set up emergency operations centers effective immediately,” the president said.
“I’m also asking every hospital in this country to activate its emergency preparedness plan, so that they can meet the needs of Americans everywhere,” he said.
“Emergency orders I’m issuing today will also confer broad new authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The Secretary of HHS will be able to immediately wave revisions of applicable laws and regulations to give doctors, hospital – all hospitals – and health care providers maximum flexibility to respond to the virus and care for patients,” the president said.
Amid a lack of widespread and systematic testing, US authorities have confirmed more than 1,800 cases in 46 states and 41 people have died.
“Today we’re announcing a new partnership with private sector to vastly increase and accelerate our capacity to test for the coronavirus. We want to make sure that those who need a test can get it as very safely quickly,” Trump said. “Again, we don’t want everyone taking this test. It’s totally unnecessary.”
Joining the president were Vice President Mike Pence and other senior administration officials, as well as CEO’s of companies enlisted in the effort to respond to the crisis.
Trump invited Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, to say a few words.
Fauci, who earlier this week described the testing effort as “failing,” described the emergency declaration as a “forward-leaning” approach.
“We still have a long way to go. There will be many more cases. But what’s going on here today is going to help it to end sooner than it would have,” Fauci said.
“This will pass, this will pass through, and we will be even stronger for it,” the president said.
The package of measures is designed to “limit the damage to our people and our country” and to minimize “the duration of the pandemic, which is what it is,” he said.
“Short-term sacrifices will produce long-term gain,” Trump said, adding that “the next eight weeks are critical.”