President Declares National Emergency in Light of COVID-19 Pandemic

March 13, 2020, 11:30 AM HST (Updated March 13, 2020, 11:30 AM)
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President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday morning in the Rose Garden, Trump said, the action he’s taken will open up access to $50 billion for states, territories and localities “against our shared fight against the disease.”

Trump is ordering every state to set up emergency operations centers effective immediately, and asking every hospital to activate its emergency preparedness plan that can meet the needs of the public.

The president says he will also 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.

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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, adding “we’re going to fill it right up to the top” and the move would save American taxpayers and help the oil industry.

Officials with private companies were also at the press conference Friday. Trump outlined a series of agreements with those companies who say they will set aside parking lot space for testing sites. Google has pledged to set up a website to determine whether a person needs a test, and where one is available.

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