US President Trump Declares National Emergency

The latest in COVID-19

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US President Trump Declares National Emergency


Quick Take

  • US President Trump has declared a national emergency, providing $50 billion in emergency funding.
  • Disney Parks, Mount Everest, the Eiffel Tower, and schools across the US close.
  • JetBlue bans a passenger who flew with coronavirus.
  • Infections in China fall to just eight new reported cases and medical aid is sent to Italy.

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US President Trump Declares National Emergency

US President Trump has declared a national emergency, providing $50 billion in emergency funding, lifting restrictions on doctors and hospitals and waiving interest on student loans.

 

Trump gave broad new authority to the health secretary, Alex Azar, who he said would now be able to waive provisions to give doctors and hospitals more flexibility to respond to the virus, including making it easier to treat people remotely. He also announced the US government would buy large quantities of crude oil for the nation’s strategic reserve.

Trump gathered American retail executives to announce they were donating resources to institute drive-through testing at locations across the country. Shortly after his speech, Trump shook hands with corporate executives despite repeated advice from his own public health experts against it.

When reporters asked him if he would get tested in regards to his contact with an infected official, he said, “most likely.”  Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has said he has tested negative. Cases in the U.S. have climbed past 1,800 and the death toll the country has risen to 41.

Disney Parks Close

Disney is closing Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and Dinsey Resort in Paris as a precaution to the outbreak. Parks will be closed from March 15th until the of the month. Disney Cruise Line will also suspend all departures. Disney had previously announced closures in California and plans to pay its cast members during the closure.

Mount Everest Closed

Climbers hoping to summit Mount Everest this spring will have to suspend their expeditions as both sides of the mountain have been closed by Nepal and China. Nepal is also closing more than 400 peaks to spring expeditions.

Nepal will deny climbing permits starting March 14 through April 30, and foreigners entering the country will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Nepal earns about $4.4 million a year in permit fees from climbers. The local economy, including agencies and guides, will also suffer economically from the closures.

JetBlue Bans Passenger With Coronavirus

A passenger who flew on a JetBlue flight from New York to West Palm Beach, Florida, on Wednesday night learned midair that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. On arrival, the passenger told the crew that he’d been notified the test was positive. Cleaning immediately started for the areas he went through.

JetBlue said the passenger did not disclose that he was awaiting results of a coronavirus test and banned the passenger for life, stating “Last night’s event put our crewmembers, customers, and federal and local officials in an unsettling situation that could have easily been avoided, and as such, this customer will not be permitted to fly on JetBlue in the future,” 

Schools Close Across The United States

School districts in Ohio, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon Michigan, Washington DC, and California are closing until the end of March. Schools in New York City are yet to close.

China Now Assisting Other Nations

As infections in China fall to just eight new reported cases, China sent doctors and medical aid to Italy. A team of nine top doctors arrived in Rome last night to battle the country’s escalating coronavirus cases. Francesco Rocca, the president of the Italian Red Cross, welcomed the team to Rome, saying it was a concrete and rapid response, activated within 48 hours.

Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma has said he will donate 500,000 coronavirus test kits and 1 million face masks to the US, stating “Drawing from my own country’s experience, speedy and accurate testing and adequate personal protective equipment for medical professionals are the most effective in preventing the spread of the virus. We can’t beat this virus unless we eliminate boundaries to resources and share our know-how and hard-earned lessons.”

Lastly, the Eiffel Tower in Paris closed Friday night until further notice in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.