President Donald Trump is expected to declare a national emergency on Friday in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump will be holding a press conference at 3 p.m. EST to brief the public on coronavirus, and he is expected to announce his declaration at that time, two anonymous sources told Bloomberg.
The national emergency declaration would allow the administration to funnel extra resources in an effort to combat the virus.
Democrats have urged the administration to declare an emergency to free some $42 billion in emergency funding from the Disaster Relief Fund. Such a declaration would also allow states to request federal cost-sharing for related expenses.
On Wednesday, Trump had addressed the nation from the Oval Office and announced a ban of all U.S. travel to and from Europe for 30 days. That ban took effect Friday.
During his address, Trump said he would be directing federal agencies to provide financial relief to businesses affected by coronavirus, including emergency loans and deferred tax payments. Similarly, individuals affected by the virus will also be eligible for financial relief.
Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, has been working with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to finalize such a coronavirus relief package that includes emergency financial aid to Americans affected by coronavirus. The pair is reportedly close to finalizing a deal.
The package reportedly includes free coronavirus testing, paid sick leave for workers who need time off due to the virus, and extra funding for federal benefits such as unemployment benefits and food programs, the Associated Press reported.
According to John Hopkins’ latest tracking data on Friday, there are now 137,385 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, of which 69,779 have recovered, and 5,088 have died.
In the U.S. alone, there are 1,268 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 33 Americans have died.