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President Trump Declares National Emergency In Response To Coronavirus

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Surrounded by members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, President Trump speaks at a press conference on COVID-19. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)
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President Trump declared a national emergency in response to the coronavirus epidemic at an afternoon news conference. The decision opens up $50 billion in funding to fight the disease, according to the president. He also announced steps toward increased testing with millions of tests available within a month, including drive-thru testing in the parking lots of major retailers. But Trump emphasized that officials don't want people to take the test unless they're exhibiting symptons.

Trump encouraged states to set up emergency operations centers, effectively immediately. He said that he is giving emergency authority to the Health and Human Services secretary to waive federal regulations, giving doctors and hospitals increased flexibility in treating patients. A new coronavirus screening website designed by Google was also announced as being in development, with more details available Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence said.

Trump announced an executive order to waive interest on all federal student loans, as well as an order to purchase crude oil for the nation's strategic reserve.

Negotiations continue with Congress over potential legislation to address coronavirus. This follows his oval office address Wednesday night that included European travel restrictions, steps to mitigate economic disruption, and a request to Congress for payroll tax relief.