NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – President Donald Trump announced Friday that he is declaring the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency, as officials race to slow the spread of the outbreak. In addition, Americans returning from several locations will be required to return through JFK Aiport, Newark Liberty Airport and 11 other locations.
Speaking from the Rose Garden, Trump said, “I am officially declaring a national emergency.” He said it would free up as much as $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak. Trump also waived interest on federally held student loans and moved to prop up energy markets, by directing the Department of Energy to buy oil to fill the strategic petroleum reserve “’right up to the top.”
The announcement came the same day the Department of Homeland Security issued a new process for American citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate families who are returning home after recently visiting certain European countries, China, and Iran.
The affected European countries include Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Starting just before midnight on the night of Friday, March 13, Americans returning from specific foreign departures will be required to enter the United States through the following airports:
- John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
- Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
- Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
- Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
- Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
- Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
- Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
- Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia
Trump said he was also giving Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar emergency authorities to waive federal regulations and laws to give doctors and hospitals “flexibility” in treating patients.
“Through a very collective action and shared sacrifice, national determination, we will overcome the threat of the virus,” Trump said.
He also announced a new public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing capabilities, as his administration has come under fire for being too slow in making the test available. The partnership will include drive-thru testing in some locations and an online portal to screen those seeking to get tested.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)