Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus, says 'we will overcome the threat of the virus'
( Fox )
President Trump on Friday declared a national emergency over the coronavirus crisis amid extensive disruptions to the economy and American life.
"We will overcome the threat of the virus,” Trump said during a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday.
The president’s declaration of a national emergency means that he will enact the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, which allows the White House to mobilize the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and direct federal aid to states hit by disasters and health crises.
According to the latest FEMA report to Congress, which was transmitted Feb. 29, 2020, there is $42.6 billion in the Disaster Relief Fund, which can be tapped under a Stafford Act declaration.
In addition to declaring an emergency under the Stafford Act, the president also declared an emergency under the National Emergencies Act, which allows the Department of Health and Human Services to waive certain guidelines related to Medicare, Medicaid and SCHIP to address the coronavirus.
Every U.S. president since 1976 has declared at least one national emergency. Former President Obama declared an emergency in 2009 over the H1N1 influenza pandemic and former President George W. Bush declared two national emergencies in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.
The announcement comes after the World Health Organization designated coronavirus, or COVID-19, a global pandemic.
Following that designation, the president announced a temporary halt on air travel to the United States from Europe, excluding flights from the United Kingdom and those carrying cargo, in an effort to contain the spread of the virus.
In recent days, major sporting and other events were also called off or postponed, businesses across the country instituted telework policies, government buildings and schools shuttered and other disruptions rock the nation, amid efforts to curb the transmission of the virus.
It also comes amid conflicting reports over whether another person who came in contact with Trump in recent days—Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro—tested positive.