Trump declares coronavirus national emergency

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US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (AFP)
US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (AFP)

US President Donald Trump announced a national state of emergency on Friday, freeing up $50 billion in federal funds for the battle against the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic.

"To unleash the full power of the federal government, I'm officially declaring a national emergency," Trump said in a statement on the White House lawn.

He called on all US states to set up emergency operation centres and said the government was accelerating testing, amid criticism about the lack of sufficient test kits nationwide.

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