Trump says he has implemented wartime Defense Production Act to combat coronavirus

US President Donald Trump in the oval office in the White House. (File photo: Reuters)

US President Donald Trump announced on Friday he had put the wartime Defense Production Act into action to aid the fight against coronavirus after saying earlier this week he would invoke the measure when needed.

The measure is meant to allow the US government to speed production of masks, respirators, ventilators and other needed equipment.

Visit our dedicated coronavirus site here for all the latest updates.

Trump said he put the measure into action on Thursday evening. He and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer spoke about the issue in a phone call on Friday.

Asked why he was putting it into action now, the president told reporters it would be used to ensure that US states could get masks and other equipment needed to fight the virus.

"I invoked the Defense Production Act, and last night, we put it into gear," Trump said.

Drive-through coronavirus test site opens in Florida



The president "is currently using it to drive the private-sector’s response to this crisis," said a White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "And the private-sector's response, to date, to his direction has been overwhelming, fulfilling government-identified needs faster than anyone thought possible," the official said.

The law, which dates to the Korean War of the 1950s, grants the president broad authority to "expedite and expand the supply of resources from the US industrial base to support military, energy, space, and homeland security programs," according to a summary on the Federal Emergency Management Agency website.

Read more:

US coronavirus crisis: Millions ordered to stay at home in New York, California

US coronavirus deaths climb to 100, with 50 deaths in Washington

US Treasury to pump in $10 bln in new coronavirus credit facility

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:05 - GMT 07:05
Top