[BuzzFeed] President Trump declared a national state of emergency on Friday over the coronavirus outbreak, unleashing billions of dollars in federal funding and ordering all states to set up emergency operations centers to combat the pandemic.
“To unleash the full power of the federal government, I’m officially declaring a national emergency,” Trump told reporters in the White House Rose Garden. “Two very big words.”
A number of cities and states have already declared states of emergency, allowing them to access federal aid to address the health crisis, but Trump said the national emergency would unleash a further $50 billion nationally.
The president also ordered hospitals to activate emergency preparedness plans.
“We’ll remove or eliminate every obstacle necessary to deliver our people the care that they need and that they’re entitled to,” he said. “No resource will be spared, nothing whatsoever.”
Additionally, Trump announced a public-private partnership to increase testing for COVID-19, saying that the FDA had approved a new test within hours after receiving an application to do so.
“We therefore expect up to half a million additional tests will be available early next week,” he said. “We’ll be announcing locations probably on Sunday night.”
The president also said he had signed executive orders to wave interest on student loans held by federal government agencies until further notice.
“That’s a big thing for a lot of students that are left in the middle right now,” he said.