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World Government coronavirus response: Trump expected to announce emergency steps

21:20  13 march  2020
21:20  13 march  2020 Source:   abcnews.go.com

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President Donald Trump is expected to declare a national emergency at a 3 p.m. news conference Trump administration announces steps to speed up testing. The Department of Health and MORE: Government response to coronavirus : Fauci backs Trump travel ban, says testing system 'a failing'.

President Trump declares national emergency . Trump administration announces steps to speed up testing. Pelosi says House Democrats will pass a economic Trump also announced private sector partnerships to "accelerate our capacity to test for the coronavirus ." Fauci: 'We have not peaked yet'.

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with banking leaders to discuss how the financial services industry can meet the needs of customers affected by COVID-19 at the White House in Washington, March 11, 2020. © Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with banking leaders to discuss how the financial services industry can meet the needs of customers affected by COVID-19 at the White House in Washington, March 11, 2020. President Donald Trump is expected to declare a national emergency at a 3 p.m. news conference Friday amid criticism from some of the nation's leading health experts and public fallout over testing for the novel coronavirus, four administration sources told ABC News. 

The details are limited and one senior-level source actively involved in the response tells ABC News "things remain extremely fluid."

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Former DHS Acting Deputy Secretary John Cohen, now an ABC contributor says: "Declaring a national emergency does two things: it coveys to the public that the nation faces a serious crisis and that drastic action is necessary and it will immediately make available resources and other support that can be directed to protect communities across the Nation."

It's not clear what directives the president may issue under the possible order.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a statement about an hour before the president was scheduled to speak. She said House Democrats would pass a package of measures "today" to address what she called a "long overdue response" the crisis, saying the three most important parts deal would deal with "testing, testing, testing."

Pelosi said the bill would make ensure that tests would be available for "everyone who needs a test," saying a coordinated, nationwide approach was needed to "understand the scale and scope" of the problem so that there could be a "science-based response."

She said the measure would also include paid sick and emergency leave and enhanced unemployment benefits to help families deal with the economic consequences.

The developments come as the Trump administration moved Friday morning to appoint a point person for testing and announced expanded measures in what appears to be an acknowledgment of the lack of available testing and delays in processing the tests.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has designated Adm. Brett Giroir to coordinate U.S. testing efforts as the cases of infected Americans grow exponentially. Under the HHS umbrella, the Food and Drug Administration is introducing an emergency hotline for private laboratories and providing new funding for partnerships with companies developing rapid tests that can detect the virus within an hour.

The announcement of the boost in testing comes as capacity has struggled to catch up with the demand nationally at public health labs. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the widely-respected director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, called the current system “a failing" on Capitol Hill Thursday even as Trump told reporters it's been "going very smooth."

Anthony S. Fauci sitting at a table: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Oversight Committee hearing on preparedness for and response to the coronavirus outbreak on Capitol Hill, March 11, 2020. © Patrick Semansky/AP Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies before a House Oversight Committee hearing on preparedness for and response to the coronavirus outbreak on Capitol Hill, March 11, 2020. The House is expected to vote on a stimulus plan Friday to offset the economic fallout to everyday Americans from the outbreak, pending a deal between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin -- the administration's point person on negotiations. The vote is expected to take place ahead of a coronavirus task force meeting with Trump Friday afternoon.

MORE: House set to vote on coronavirus economic relief once Pelosi and Mnuchin cut deal

Tune into ABC News Live at noon EDT every weekday for the latest news, context and analysis on the novel coronavirus, with the full ABC News team where we will try to answer your questions about the virus.

Here are Friday's most significant developments in Washington:

  • President Trump to hold 3 p.m. news conference, expected to declare national emergency, sources say
  • The Trump administration announces steps to speed up testing
  • Pelosi says House Democrats will pass a economic relief measure 'today' that ensures testing for everyone who needs one
  • Trump meets with industry executives on the coronavirus response

Here is how developments in Washington are unfolding

Trump expected to declare a national emergency, sources say

President Donald Trump is expected to declare a national emergency at a 3 p.m. news conference from the White House, four administration sources tell ABC News, as the number of Americans infected with the novel coronavirus rises and criticism grows of how his administration is responding.

The details are limited and one senior level source actively involved in the response tells ABC News "things remain extremely fluid."

Former DHS Acting Deputy Secretary John Cohen, now an ABC contributor says: "Declaring a national emergency does two thing, it coveys to the public that the nation faces a serious crisis and that drastic action is necessary and it will immediately make available resources and other support that can be directed to protect communities across the Nation."

It's not clear what directives the president may issue under the possible order.

He announced earlier Friday he will hold a news conference at 3 p.m. EDT amid backlash over the availability of testing.

Trump administration announces steps to speed up testing

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration announced Friday they are boosting the nation's testing response to the coronavirus amid widespread criticism from public health experts and the general public alike.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has designated Adm. Brett Giroir to coordinate U.S. testing efforts across public health agencies. The Food and Drug Administration is introducing an emergency hotline for private laboratories and providing new funding for partnerships with companies developing rapid tests that can detect the virus within an hour.

The FDA also took a rare step in announcing Friday morning it will allow the New York State Department of Health to authorize local labs with their own tests. Before local labs would have gone through the FDA process.

On Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a widely-respected expert at the National Institutes of Health, called the current system “a failing" on Capitol Hill even as Trump told reporters it's been "going very smooth."

Anthony S. Fauci wearing a suit and tie: Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, walks to a TV interview at the White House, March, 12, 2020. © Doug Mills/The New York Times via Redux Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, walks to a TV interview at the White House, March, 12, 2020.

Fauci: 'We have not peaked yet'

Following two days of testimony before the House Oversight Committee, Fauci repeated a warning to ABC's "Good Morning America" Friday that he has made as the coronavirus continues to spread: "It gets worse before it gets better."

"It will be at least a matter of several weeks. It's unpredictable, but if you look at historically how these things work, it will likely be anywhere from a few weeks to up to eight weeks," Fauci said. "I hope it's going to be in the earlier part, two, three, four weeks, but it's impossible to make an accurate prediction."

MORE: Government response to coronavirus: Fauci backs Trump travel ban, says testing system 'a failing'

Pelosi: Agreement is 'near' with White House on aid package

Earlier, Pelosi said that she and the Trump administration were close to agreement on a coronavirus aid package to reassure anxious Americans by providing sick pay, free testing and other resources, hoping to calm teetering financial markets amid the mounting crisis.

“We have -- are near -- to an agreement,” Pelosi said, emerging from her office at the Capitol late Thursday night.

Nancy Pelosi smiling for the camera: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks to the media during her weekly briefing, March 12, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. © Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks to the media during her weekly briefing, March 12, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Mnuchin tells worried investors 'don't stare at the screen'

When asked Friday what his message is for Americans -- especially those close to retirement -- who are worried as they look at their 401Ks this morning, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sought to project calm amid the economic turmoil caused by the coronavirus.

“Don't stare at the screen, okay,” Mnuchin said, in offering advice. “It will be higher or a year from now, as I said, people who weathered the crash in 1987, people who weathered the financial crisis. For long term investors, the US is the best place to invest in the world.”

MORE: House set to vote on coronavirus economic relief once Pelosi and Mnuchin cut deal

Mnuchin repeatedly noted that what the U.S. is facing today is "not the financial crisis," describing it as a temporary situation, but said the White House is looking at taking major stimulus actions to help Americans through this time.

“I can assure you, the president is determined, we will do whatever we need. I think the president is looking at a major stimulus package, whether it's through the payroll tax cut or through another means of delivering liquidity to hard-working Americans,” said Mnuchin.

Steven Mnuchin wearing a suit and tie: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks with reporters outside White House in Washington, DC, on March 13, 2020. © Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin speaks with reporters outside White House in Washington, DC, on March 13, 2020.

As the administration nears a deal with Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a COVID-19 aid package, Mnuchin described it as just the "second inning" in a baseball game.

“I think we view this as this is the second inning in a baseball game. The first inning was the $8 billion bill, this is the second inning,” said, Mnuchin, who said the plan to “come quickly back” to Congress on issues facing the airline industry.

His comments illustrate a major shift tone from the administration from just a week ago when the president's top economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the administration at that time was not considering any sweeping stimulus measures.

Cruz announces he's extending self-quarantine

Sen. Ted Cruz announced he's extending his self-quarantine after just being informed of contact with a second person who has tested positive for COVID.19.

“I’m still not feeling any symptoms. I’m consulting with medical officials. But, for the same reasons I initially self-quarantined -- out of an abundance of caution and to give everyone peace of mind -- I am extending the self-quarantine to March 17," the Texas senator said in a statement.

MORE: Trump says he's 'not concerned' that Brazilian official he met with tested positive for coronavirus

Australian official tests positive for COVID-19 after meeting with AG Barr Ivanka Trump

Australia's Minister for Home Affairs, Peter Dutton, said Friday he's contracted coronavirus, one week after he was seen meeting with Attorney General Bill Bar and President Trump's daughter in Washington, D.C.

Department of Justice spokeswoman told ABC News that while Barr is "staying home" Friday, "the AG is feeling great and not showing any symptoms," adding that the "CDC is not recommending he be tested at this point."

a man wearing a suit and tie: Attorney General William Barr arrives before President Donald Trump presents the Medal of Freedom to former Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Jack Keane in the East Room of the White House in Washington, March 10, 2020. © Patrick Semansky/AP Attorney General William Barr arrives before President Donald Trump presents the Medal of Freedom to former Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Jack Keane in the East Room of the White House in Washington, March 10, 2020. The news comes one day after Trump said he is "not concerned" that an aide to the Brazilian president tested positive for COVID-19 days after he attended dinner with Trump at his Florida resort. 

ABC News' John Santucci, Katherine Faulders, Josh Margolin, Jordyn Phelps, John Parkinson, Alex Mallin and Anne Flaherty contributed to this report. 

At Microsoft News Australia we've partnered with the giving platform Benevity to raise funds for UNICEF: Donate now and help health workers in the battle against the novel coronavirus. Coronavirus Health Information Line

Call 1800 020 080 if you are seeking information on novel coronavirus. The line operates Monday–Friday from 8am to 8pm, Saturdays from 8am to 5pm, and Sundays from 9am to 5pm. 

Trump calls anti-malarial drug a ‘game-changer’ for coronavirus, but the FDA says it needs study .
FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said the agency is considering giving chloroquine to larger populations of coronavirus patients as part of an “expanded use” testing program. Such a trial in patients would allow the FDA to collect data to measure scientifically whether it works. It was not immediately clear how long it would take the FDA to design the study and get it working at trial sites around the country. “In the short term, we are looking at drugs that are already approved for other indications,'' Hahn said, citing chloroquine as the leading example.

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