US President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to help handle the growing outbreak of coronavirus.
The declaration – “two very big words”, according to Mr Trump – allows the federal government to tap up to $50bn (£40bn) in emergency relief funds.
The move loosens regulations on the provision of healthcare and could speed up testing – the slow pace of which has been criticised widely. There are 1,701 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the US, and 40 deaths. Several US states have taken measures to stem the infections rate, including banning large gatherings, sporting events and closing schools.
The virus originated in China last December, but Europe is now the “epicentre” of the global pandemic, the head of the World Health Organization said on Friday, as several European countries reported steep rises in infections and deaths.
Italy has recorded its highest daily toll yet – 250 over the past 24 hours, taking the total to 1,266, with 17,660 infections in the country.
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