U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency over the fast-spreading coronavirus, opening the door to providing what he said was about $50 billion in federal aid to fight the disease.
Trump made the announcement at a Rose Garden news conference.
Trump said he was declaring the national emergency in order to "unleash the full power of the federal government." He urged every state to set up emergency centers to help fight the virus.
He called on all US states to set up emergency operation centers and said the government was accelerating testing, amid criticism about the lack of sufficient test kits nationwide.
Pressure has been mounting for Trump to declare an infectious disease emergency under the 1988 law that would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide disaster funds to state and local governments and to deploy support teams. The power is rarely used. Former President Bill Clinton in 2000 declared such an emergency for West Nile virus.