Washington, D.C. (AP) President Donald Trump is officially declaring a national emergency over the coronavirus. The President spoke at Rose Garden press conference Friday and said no resource will be spared in responding to the virus. He says that the declaration will free up nearly $50 billion to help the states and cities. Trump says he is also asking every hospital in the U.S. to activate their emergency preparedness plan.
President Trump is defending his administration’s response to the virus outbreak, particularly its temporary ban on travel from Europe, saying it will save lives. He says of the virus that “this will pass” and the nation will emerge stronger.
President Donald Trump has said he is likely to take a test for the coronavirus after all. Trump over the weekend was near Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s communications director, Fabio Wajngarten, who tested positive for the virus just days later. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement Thursday that “both the President and Vice President had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time.” Trump was asked at a press conference Friday if he was being selfish by not undergoing testing, prompting Trump to reply: “I didn’t say I wasn’t going to be tested.” “Most likely, yeah,” Trump added while downplaying his interaction with the Brazilian official at this resort in Florida. “Not for that reason, but because I think I will do it anyway. Fairly soon, we’re working out a schedule.”
More of the latest Coronavirus reports from AP:
The number of people who have died from the new coronavirus in the U.S. jumped by eight on Friday – from 41 to 49. Washington state health officials reported six new COVID-19 deaths on Friday making the state’s total 37. Three of the new fatalities were associated with a nursing home in Kirkland, Washington, that has been the epicenter of the disease in the state. Colorado health officials reported the state’s first coronavirus death. A woman in her 80s with underlying health conditions died in El Paso County. California Department of Public Health announced Friday that the state now has 247 confirmed cases and one new death, bringing the fatality total to five.
Gov. Kate Brown said Friday that Oregon will help find childcare for the children of frontline medical workers and first responders as schools statewide are closed for two weeks to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Oregon also obtained a federal waiver Friday to allow districts to serve free and reduced-price lunches to lower-income students outside a school setting, at places such as bus stops, churches and community centers. About half of the 580,000 children in Oregon affected by the two-week closure of all school statewide receive meal subsidies, Oregon Department of Education Director Colt Gill said. As for childcare for doctors and nurses, Brown equated it to a wartime effort to make medical workers available.
Washington’s governor has ordered a six-week closure of all public and private schools in the state, which has seen the most COVID-19 deaths in the United States. Gov. Jay Inslee had previously ordered all greater Seattle area schools to shut down. Inslee’s order requires schools to close from March 17 to April 24. In Washington state, there are more than 1.1 million public school students. At least 31 deaths from coronavirus have occurred in Washington, most in the Seattle area.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has ordered the closing of every school in the state until March 30 starting Tuesday amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus.
Pritzker announced his decision Friday in Chicago where more than 355,000 public school students will be affected. Statewide, nearly 2 million students will not be returning to the classroom for two weeks. Illinois officials also reported an additional 14 cases of people who had tested positive for the virus on Friday, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 46.
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers on Friday ordered all of the state’s public and private K-12 schools closed from March 18 until April 5, saying they could close earlier if they wished and the reopening date may be delayed. There were 19 confirmed cases in Wisconsin, including one who had recovered.
The World Health Organization’s chief has launched a global fund on Friday to raise money to help the world’s nations respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “Every dollar donated is a dollar towards saving lives.”
The Catalan government wants to fully isolate the northeastern region of 7.5 million to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, its regional chief said late on Friday, urging central authorities in Spain to help enforcing the total lockdown. Quim Torra spoke in a televised address on the same day when some 70,000 residents were confined to four towns of the region where a virulent cluster of the COVID-19 has infected dozens in a matter of days. Central authorities in Spain announced Friday a state of emergency that will give the government extraordinary powers from Saturday and until the end of March to take over private facilities, restrict freedom of movement and impose mandatory supply of food and medicines. Authorities in the Madrid region, with nearly half of the country’s more than 4,200 infections, have also urged the central government to order the total lockdown there.
In a press conference late in the evening, regional president, Isabel Diaz Ayuso, confirmed that hotels had been designated to be used as makeshift hospitals in order to reach at least 1,000 rooms with intensive care capabilities in coming weeks.
Hungary is closing schools starting Monday. Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Friday night in a video posted on the government’s Facebook page that classes will be held for students only through distance learning. He also asked that children staying at home not be left in the care of grandparents, who, because of their age, are among those most at risk regarding the coronavirus. Hungary already suspended university classes earlier this week because of the large number of foreign students. Hungary has reported 19 cases of the coronavirus.
President Donald Trump is criticizing legislation in the House designed to help Americans dealing with the new coronavirus, saying, “we just don’t think they’re giving enough.” Trump claimed that Democrats, in the end, “didn’t agree to certain things they agreed to.” Central to the House package is free testing for the virus and guaranteed sick pay for workers who are taking time away from jobs, along with an infusion of dollars to handle unemployment benefits and boost food programs for children, families and seniors. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday the House would approve the aid package and implored the Trump administration and congressional Republicans to “put families first” by backing the effort.
Morocco announced a temporary nationwide school shut down amid concerns of the spread of the coronavirus. Lessons will be conducted digitally, as the educational staff is required to continue providing lessons over the net, according to a statement from the education ministry. Morocco introduced a range of other measures, including banning all gatherings of more than 1,000 people, prohibiting religious events and suspending flights to China, Italy, Spain and France.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says all passenger air traffic abroad will be halted on Tuesday. Earlier Friday, the country banned entry by foreigners for two weeks. The speaker of parliament, Dmytro Razumkov, told a Ukrainian TV station that Ukrainian citizens will still be able to enter the country by land and sea entry points.
President Donald Trump says he will waive interest on student loans being held by the federal government “until further notice” as part of an emergency action to help Americans deal with the new coronavirus. Trump says he has also instructed his secretary of Energy to purchase large quantities of crude oil for the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which stores fuel for emergency use. Trump says “we’re going to fill it right up to the top” and the move would save American taxpayers and help the oil industry. Trump made the announcements during a White House press conference on Friday.
Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a ramp-up Friday in testing for the new coronavirus in Florida, where more than 50 people have been infected with the virus including the Miami mayor. DeSantis said the state was purchasing kits that allow for testing up to 625,000 people, with 40 percent of them already in hand and 60 percent of them on the way. So far, people have tested positive for COVID-19 in at least 20 counties in Florida, most of them after traveling internationally or to other affected U.S. states. Two people in Florida have died.
Guatemala President Alejandro Giammattei says the country has its first confirmed case of coronavirus. The Guatemalan man had arrived in the country Wednesday from Italy with relatives. There were also five citizens of El Salvador who arrived on the same flight and were immediately redirected to that country.
The man was taken to a local hospital that had been prepared to treat those with the illness. The man’s relatives were being monitored.
Neighboring Honduras confirmed its first two cases earlier this week.