Donald Trump declares coronavirus outbreak a national emergency

Donald Trump has declared a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump has earmarked $50billion in federal cash to help states fight the disease.

He is asking hospitals to activate their emergency plans for health care providers.

Trump said he was declaring the national emergency in order to "unleash the full power of the federal government."

The order will give authority to the US Health Secretary to waive laws and regulations to provide healthcare operators with more flexibility.

During his press conference this afternoon, he urged Americans to only get tested for the disease if they need to.

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Google will develop a website to help people decide whether they should get tested, Trump added.

He pledged up to 500,000 additional coronavirus tests to be introduced early next week.

Speaking at today's press conference, Trump said: ""To unleash the full power of the federal government to this effort today, I am officially declaring a national emergency – two very big words."

Pressure has been mounting for Trump to declare an infectious disease emergency under the 1988 law that would allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to provide disaster funds to state and local governments and to deploy support teams.

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Trump had faced criticism from some experts for being slow and ineffective in his response to the crisis and downplaying the threat.

Former President Bill Clinton in 2000 declared such an emergency for West Nile virus.

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