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COVID-19: President Trump declares national emergency in U.S.

Trump says 'likely' to have #Coronavirus test 'fairly soon'



US President Donald Trump has declared a national state of emergency, promising up to US$US50 billion ($A78 billion) to fight coronavirus.

"To unleash the full power of the federal government, today I am officially declaring a national emergency," Mr Trump said at the White House on Friday afternoon, local time.

"Two very big words.

"This measure will save countless lives."

Mr Trump said the US had made "tremendous progress" and "we will overcome the threat of the virus", as he promised to vastly increase and accelerate testing capacity in partnership with private companies.

The US government has faced mounting criticism in recent days about a lack of testing and delays in results, after early fumbles by its Centre for Diseases Control in the rollout of testing.

"We want to make sure that those who need a test, can get a test very safely and conveniently," he said.

"But we don't want people to take a test if we feel that they shouldn't be doing it. We don't want everyone running out and taking it ... only if you have certain symptoms."

The improved funding would bolster the country's medical response.

"I am urging every state to set up emergency operation centres effective immediately," he said.

He was also "asking every hospital in this country to activate its emergency preparedness plans".

"This will pass through, and we are going to be even stronger for it," he said.

Trump, while responding to questions, said that he will likely be tested for coronavirus. Trump said in response a reporter’s question, “Most likely, yes,” and added that it would happen “fairly soon.”

More than 130,000 people worldwide are infected with coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. Officials are attempting to contain the outbreak in the US as schools, businesses and public events are closed or canceled.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would pass a coronavirus relief package that included,

free coronavirus testing for everyone who needs a test, including the uninsured, two weeks of guaranteed paid sick leave, as well as increased family leave, increased support for unemployment benefits, works to strengthen programs that provide school lunches for students who rely on them and a bump in Medicaid funding.

It came as Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton tested positive to coronavirus in a shock development that will cause chaos for Australia's leadership.

Mr Dutton, 48, woke up this morning "with a temperature and sore throat" and got tested.

"I immediately contacted the Queensland Department of Health and was subsequently tested for COVID-19. I was advised by Queensland Health this afternoon that the test had returned positive," he said in a statement.

"It is the policy of Queensland Health that anyone who tests positive is to be admitted into hospital and I have complied with their advice."

"I feel fine and will provide an update in due course."

Mr Dutton had just returned from a trip to the United States.

He had held meetings with his Five Eyes intelligence counterparts in Washington on protecting kids online from exploitation and abuse.

It is presumed that Mr Dutton picked up the virus during the US trip, in which he met Ivanka Trump and many senior members of the Trump White House.

News Corp Australia has approached the White House to ask if Mr Dutton's exposure means Ivanka Trump, Attorney-General William Barr and others with whom Mr Dutton interacted last week will be tested.

Yesterday πŸ‡¦πŸ‡Ί Home Affairs @PeterDutton_MP joins @IvankaTrump, Attorney General Barr & our five eyes partners πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ‡¨πŸ‡¦πŸ‡³πŸ‡Ώ to fight online child exploitation. We heard from 9 brave survivors & announced principles that technology companies should implement to protect children online pic.twitter.com/3ifeJnGJPI— Australia in the US πŸ‡¦πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ (@AusintheUS) March 6, 2020

His result has prompted concern that other members of the government and parliament might also have the virus.

A spokesperson for the prime minister said Mr Dutton has been isolated according to the policies of Queensland Health.

"Queensland Health will undertake the appropriate contact tracing," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said Mr Dutton attended Tuesday's meeting of the Federal Cabinet in person and Thursday's meeting of the National Security Committee via video link.

"In advice provided to the Prime Minister this evening, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer has reiterated that only people who had close contact with the Minister in the preceding 24 hours before he became symptomatic need to self-isolate.

"That does not include the Prime Minister or any other members of the Cabinet."

WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION CALLS FOR DONATIONS

The World Health Organization has established a COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund in an effort to raise much-needed money to combat coronavirus.

The WHO writes that the fund will enable them to send essential supplies to frontline health workers, boost laboratory capacity through training and equipment, provide vital information to communities, and fast-track the discovery of vaccines, diagnostics and treatment.

"To give to the #COVID19 Solidarity Response Fund, go to https://t.co/PYgBcvQWUm, and look for the orange “Donate” button at the top of the page"-@DrTedros #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/Vv0SYlGVXp— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 13, 2020

On Friday, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that Europe is now the "epicentre" of the pandemic, with more cases now being reported in Europe than in China at the height of its epidemic.

"More cases are now being reported [in Europe] everyday, than were reported in China at height of its epidemic"

World Health Organization chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, says Europe is now the "epicentre" of the Covid-19 pandemic
Latest updates: https://t.co/VLu7M7UlIn pic.twitter.com/ohR2oi9YKg— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 13, 2020

Google and Facebook are among the companies to have already contributed to the fund.

There is not a public tally yet of how much has been raised.

MIXED REPORTS ABOUT BOLSONARO'S CORONAVIRUS TEST

Brazil's media reported that its president, Jair Bolsonaro, has tested positive for coronavirus. However, those reports were disputed by the Brazilian President on his Facebook page.

"Don't believe the fake news media! they're the ones who need you!" he wrote.

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