US President Donald Trump waves to the media. File photo
President Donald Trump is expected to sign an $8.3 billion measure to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak. The legislation would provide federal public health agencies money for vaccines, tests and potential treatments, and help state and local governments prepare for and respond to the threat.
The Senate passed the measure on Thursday to help tackle the outbreak in hopes of reassuring a fearful public and accelerating the government's response to the virus. Its rapid spread is threatening to upend everyday life in the US and across the globe.
The money would pay for a multifaceted attack on a virus that is spreading more widely every day, sending financial markets spiraling again Thursday, disrupting travel and potentially threatening the US economy's decade-long expansion.
Thursday's sweeping 96-1 vote sends the bill to the White House for President Donald Trump's signature. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., cast the sole "no” vote. The House passed the bill Wednesday by a 415-2 vote.
The plan would more than triple the $2.5 billion amount outlined by the White House 10 days ago. The Trump proposal was immediately discarded by members of Congress from both parties. Instead, the bipartisan leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations committees negotiated the increased figure and other provisions of the legislation in a burst of bipartisan cooperation that's common on the panel but increasingly rare elsewhere in Washington.
Trump, who flew back to Washington after a weekend golfing at his Florida resort and having dinner with Brazil's right-wing president, has spent weeks dismissing the seriousness of the threat.
Trump, in a rare Oval Office address to the nation on Wednesday night, said the month-long restriction on travel would begin late on Friday, at midnight. After days of playing down the coronavirus threat, he blamed Europe for not acting quickly enough to address the "foreign virus” and claimed that US clusters were "seeded” by European travellers.
US President Donald Trump said that it has been "weeks" since he touched his face as a precaution against the coronavirus epidemic and that it was something that he "misses".
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said based on its review of results of a study by UK researchers, it concluded that dexamethasone - a commonly used drug against a range of inflammatory conditions - can be considered a treatment option in adults and adolescents needing oxygen therapy.
Taiwan scrambled fighter jets on Friday as 18 Chinese aircraft buzzed the island, including crossing the sensitive mid-line of the Taiwan Strait, in an escalation of tensions as a senior US official held talks in Taipei.
Two Turkish soldiers were killed and another was wounded after Kurdish militants fired rockets at a military base in northern Iraq, Turkey's Defence Ministry said in a statement on Friday.