US President Trump calls himself ‘wartime president’ as he battles coronavirus

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the White House on March 18, 2020, in Washington. (AP)

After US President Donald Trump invoked rarely used emergency powers in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, he described himself as a “wartime president” fighting an invisible enemy.

Trump on Wednesday likened the effort to the measures taken during World War II and said it would require national “sacrifice.”

“It's a war,” he said. “I view it as a, in a sense, a wartime president. It's a very tough situation.”

Trump signed an aid package — which the Senate approved earlier Wednesday — that will guarantee sick leave to workers who fall ill.

Trump tapped his authority under the 70-year-old Defense Production Act to give the government more power to steer production by private companies and try to overcome shortages in masks, ventilators and other supplies.

Dr. Jana Cua, left, is swabbed as she is tested for COVID-19 at the Doris Ison Health Center on March 18, 2020, in Miami. (AP)

Dr. Jana Cua, left, is swabbed as she is tested for COVID-19 at the Doris Ison Health Center on March 18, 2020, in Miami. (AP)

Trump took a series of other extraordinary steps to steady the nation, its day-to-day life suddenly and fundamentally altered.

The Canada-US border, the world’s longest, was effectively closed, save for commerce and essential travel, while the administration pushed its plan to send relief checks to millions of Americans.

Trump said he will expand the nation’s diagnostic testing capacity and deploy a Navy hospital ship to New York City, which is rapidly becoming an epicenter of the pandemic, and another such ship to the West Coast. And the Housing and Urban Development Department will suspend foreclosures and evictions through April to help the growing number of Americans who face losing jobs and missing rent and mortgage payments.

The government has told Americans to avoid groups of more than 10 people and the elderly to stay home while a pointed reminder was given to millennials to follow the guidelines and avoid social gatherings.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:02 - GMT 07:02
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