Trump declares national emergency amid the coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 11:10 AM, Mar 13, 2020

President Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency Friday amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, a move that he said would free up $50 billion to fight the spread of the disease.

Trump's order also called for states to set up emergency centers, called on hospitals to activate emergency preparedness plans and granted new powers to the Health and Human Services Secretary.

Trump also said his administration would issue guidance later Friday that advises nursing homes and senior centers to not permit visitors except in select circumstances. Visitors would be allowed in end-of-life situations.

The move comes a day after Trump hinted that he might invoke a national emergency through the Stafford Act.

Trump's address also included comments from CEOs in the health and retail sectors, who said they will work with the Trump administration to expand coronavirus testing capabilities, including the development of drive-thru testing.

When asked by reporters if he took responsibility for the U.S.'s initial lack of testing capabilities, Trump said he didn't take responsibility "at all," citing strict regulations from government agencies.

Trump also dodged a question about his administration's decision to eliminate his administration's pandemic response panel, calling it a "nasty question."

Trump's announcement comes two days after he held a primetime address regarding the pandemic from the Oval Office.

During that address, Trump announced that he was instituting a 30-day ban on travel to all European nations besides the United Kingdom. That ban begins today.

Trump said he would "look into" adding the United Kingdom to the travel ban list, considering the country saw a spike in cases on Friday.

He also initially said that all cargo would also be banned from European countries, though the White House later walked back that claim.

Trump also called for unity during his speech, saying that the coronavirus pandemic was not a time for partisan politics. However, in the hours following the address, he attacked former Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Twitter.