Coronavirus: Trump places US on a struggle footing fight outbreak

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Media captionTrump grilled on use of time period ‘Chinese virus’

Describing himself as a “wartime president”, President Donald Trump has vowed the US will obtain “total victory” over the coronavirus.

He spoke as he revived a Korean War-era measure permitting the US to ramp up manufacturing of significant medical provides.

Two lawmakers in the meantime turned the primary members of Congress to check constructive for the an infection.

The US has almost 8,000 instances of Covid-19 and has seen 138 deaths up to now.

Globally there are greater than 200,000 confirmed instances and over 8,700 deaths.

What did President Trump say?

At a White House press convention, the president was requested by a reporter whether or not he thought-about the nation to be on a struggle footing when it comes to combating the virus.

“It’s a war,” he mentioned. “I view it as a, in a sense, a wartime president. Mr Trump has been holding daily briefings on the emergency this week since being accused of playing down the outbreak in its early stages.

He said: “We should sacrifice collectively, as a result of we’re all on this collectively, and we’ll come via collectively. It’s the invisible enemy. That’s all the time the hardest enemy.

“But we are going to defeat the invisible enemy. I think we are going to do it even faster than we thought, and it’ll be a complete victory. It’ll be a total victory.”

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Media captionThe BBC’s Laura Foster explains how one can recognise the signs of coronavirus.

Mr Trump introduced he was signing the 1950 Defense Production Act, which empowers the president to direct civilian companies to assist meet orders for merchandise mandatory for nationwide safety.

He later mentioned on Twitter he would solely invoke the measure “in a worst case scenario in the future”.

Mr Trump additionally described as an “absolute, total worst case scenario” a warning by his Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, that the pandemic may ship US unemployment rocketing to 20%.

The president mentioned two US Navy hospitals ships can be pressed into service to assist alleviate an anticipated scarcity of sick beds.

The USNS Comfort is predicted to be despatched to New York Harbor, although defence officers mentioned it’s at present present process upkeep in Virginia.

The different vessel, USNS Mercy, is being ready to deploy to a location on the West Coast.

During the press convention, Mr Trump once more rejected ideas that his use of the time period “Chinese virus” to explain Covid-19 was racist.

Earlier within the day the US-Canada border, the world’s longest, was effectively closed, apart from important journey and commerce.

Mr Trump additionally mentioned his administration would launch a brand new crackdown on migrants or asylum seekers crossing the US-Mexico border by invoking a statute permitting individuals from sure international locations to be blocked with a view to forestall the unfold of communicable ailments.

Which congressmen have coronavirus?

The workplace of Ben McAdams, a Utah Democrat, mentioned on Wednesday night he had examined constructive for the virus.

The 45-year-old mentioned he developed “mild cold-like symptoms” after coming back from Washington DC on Saturday night.

Mr McAdams mentioned he instantly self-isolated at dwelling, however “my symptoms got worse and I developed a fever, a dry cough and laboured breathing”.

His physician referred him on Tuesday for a Covid-19 check, which got here again constructive on Wednesday, in accordance with the assertion.

The consultant mentioned he would stay in self-quarantine till he had recovered.

Mario Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican, additionally introduced on Wednesday he had examined constructive for coronavirus.

“I’m feeling much better. However, it’s important that everyone take this seriously,” the 58-year-old tweeted from self-quarantine at his flat in Washington DC.

Mr Balart mentioned he didn’t plan to return to Florida, noting his spouse, Tia, has underlying situations “that put her at exceptionally high risk”.

The information will probably ship a shiver via Congress, which has many aged members.

Its representatives and senators are often wanting to shake fingers with the aides, colleagues, constituents and lobbyists they encounter every day.

They additionally typically discover themselves at shut quarters with one another whereas using the devoted subway beneath the Capitol advanced.

What is Congress doing to fight coronavirus?

On Wednesday, the president signed a coronavirus reduction package deal handed earlier within the day overwhelmingly by the US Senate 90-8.

The invoice supplies free virus testing and paid sick, household and medical go away for employees at corporations with 500 workers or fewer, in addition to expanded funding for meals welfare.

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Media captionCoronavirus: Venice’s canals look clearer after lockdown

It is estimated the sick go away and household go away provisions of the invoice alone will value $105bn (£90bn).

The White House and Congress are additionally discussing further coronavirus financial stimulus measures that might value as much as $1.3tn.

That package deal may embrace two rounds of direct funds of as much as $1,000 to Americans to encourage spending.

Despite efforts to maintain the financial system, the Dow Jones plummeted once more on Wednesday erasing almost all of the positive aspects that it had made since Mr Trump took workplace.

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