Trump hails Americans as ‘strongest’ after declaring national emergency over coronavirus

Currently, the virus has spread to 46 states, infecting at least 1,920 people and causing 41 deaths. But the US President sought to rally morale in a tweet in which he boasted that Americans were the “most resilient” people on earth to deal with the virus. He tweeted: “Americans are the strongest and most resilient people on earth…We will remove or eliminate every obstacle necessary to deliver our people the care that they need, and that they are entitled to. No resource will be spared.”

Earlier on Friday, Mr Trump said that he may add Britain to his European travel ban in the coming days, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the UK soared on Friday.

On Thursday, the US President declared that he was placing a 30 day travel ban on mainland Europe, effective from midnight Friday.

In a move that was seen as controversial, Mr Trump exempted the UK from his new travel restrictions.

However, on Friday the UK reported a significant spike in the number of new infections.

The past 24 hours have seen over 200 more cases confirmed, bringing the total number to 798, with 11 deaths.

Explaining his change of mind, the US President told a press conference at the White House: “We are looking at it based on the new numbers that are coming out.

“And we may have to include them in the list of countries that we will, you could say ban or whatever it is, during this period of time.”

Also on Friday, the President declared a state of emergency, as he ramped up his administration’s response to the coronavirus crisis in the US.

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Mr Trump has been accused of underplaying the seriousness of the situation.

In particular, his administration has been roundly criticised over a nationwide shortage of testing kits.

The US President said that the state of emergency would unleash US50 billion in extra funds too help fight the virus.

He urged states to set up emergency operation centres and hospitals to initiate emergency plans.

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Mr Trump also announced that the White House would work with private companies to help make up for the shortfall in testing kits.

The new measures will include “drive-through” testing centres in car parks at CVS, Target, Walmart and Walgreens stores.

The President explained his team expected “half a million additional tests will be available early next week which will bring probably 1.4m tests next week and 5m in a month.

“Our overriding goal is to stop the spread of the virus.”

He refused to accept responsibility for the lack of testing facilities, choosing instead to blame the previous administration.

He said: “I don’t take responsibility at all, because we were given a set of circumstances and we were given rules, regulations and specifications from a different time.”

He then added: “What we’ve done is redesign it very quickly with the help of the people around me … We’ll have the ability to do millions over a quick period of time.”

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation stepped up its calls for intensified action to fight the coronavirus pandemic, imploring countries “not to let this fire burn”.

It comes as Spain announced that it would declare a 15-day state of emergency from Saturday.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director general, said Europe had become the centre of the epidemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined apart from China.

COVID-19 is present in all 27 European countries and has infected at least 25,000 people.

Dr Tedros implored countries to take coordinated and comprehensiv. action, saying: “Not testing alone. Not quarantine alone. Not social distancing alone. Do it all. Find, isolate, test and treat every case, to break the chains of transmission … Do not just let this fire burn.”

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