President Donald Trump on Friday, March 13, declared a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak in an effort to leverage the full power of the federal government to protect the health and safety of the American people. 

“I am officially declaring a national emergency—two very big words,” the president said in remarks from the Rose Garden, adding that his action will “open up access to up to $50 billion” in federal aid for state and local governments in “our shared fight against this disease.”

The president ordered every state to set up emergency operations centers to combat the rapidly spreading virus.

He also announced a range of executive actions, including a partnership with private companies to increase testing capabilities, or working to set up drive-through test sites.

President Trump said he will allow Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar waive applicable rules and regulations to give doctors, hospitals, and health care providers maximum flexibility to respond to the virus and care for patients.

The president added that he would waive interest on federal student loans “until further notice,” and that the Department of Energy would buy up crude oil for storage in U.S. reserves.

“We’ll remove or eliminate every obstacle necessary to deliver our people the care that they need and that they’re entitled to,” President Trump said.

“Our overriding goal is to stop the spread of the virus,” he said. “This will pass … and we’ll be even stronger for it.”

This is the second time within a week that President Trump has announced actions to respond to the coronavirus. On Wednesday, the president delivered an address to the nation, announcing measures to curb the virus spread in the United States, including a travel ban from Europe for next 30 days.

Hours after the national emergency declaration was made, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi late on Friday announced an agreement with the Trump administration on a multibillion aid package aimed at direct relief to Americans hurt by the coronavirus outbreak. The president said he fully supports the deal.

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