President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency during a White House press conference on Friday.
“No resource will be spared, nothing whatsoever,” Trump said, outlining increases in federal funding and broadening the abilities of the Department of Health and Human Services. All told, $50 billion has been made accessible to states and localities.
He also said that the federal government is working with private companies to tackle the virus, praising corporations like LabCorp and Roche for working on testing solutions, the launch of an online Google symptom screening form, and the opening of drive-thru testing at store like CVS, Target, Walmart and Walgreens. The president also waived interest on all student loans held by federal government agencies.
The national emergency declaration came two days after a national address in which Trump announced the United States will restrict travel from 26 countries in Europe in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic.
“Now we’re in a different phase,” Trump said Friday. “To unleash the full power of the federal government to this effort today, I am officially declaring a national emergency. Two very big words.”
The travel restrictions will begin Friday at midnight and will be in place for 30 days. The United Kingdom will be exempt from the restrictions, as will American citizens “who have undergone appropriate screenings,” the president said. The decision builds on the administration’s earlier move to restrict travel from China and Iran.
However, during the press conference, Trump said the U.K. may be added to the travel ban as numbers of coronavirus cases increase there.
When asked if he was responsible for closing the U.S. pandemic response team — which he did in 2018 — he responded, “I don’t know anything about that.”
When asked if he personally was tested after potential exposure, Trump replied, “Most likely, yeah. Fairly soon. We’re working out a schedule.”
The coronavirus spread has affected all American industries, from local businesses to sports to entertainment. TheWrap has been monitoring the canceled events in tech, media, politics and entertainment here. The Tribeca Film Festival, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2020 Induction Ceremony and Coachella are among the events being postponed or canceled in reaction to the spread of the virus.
TV productions have been suspended or delayed, as have movies. Elsewhere, talk shows have forgone live studio audiences while Disneyland and other entertainment parks have announced closures, as has Broadway.
Consumers aren’t the only ones affected; the May upfronts — where networks present their programming slates — have all been canceled.
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