President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he would ask Congress to give immediate payroll tax relief to Americans and would instruct the Small Business Association (SBA) to provide economic waivers to small businesses. 

Speaking at in the Oval Office on Wednesday night, Trump also announced a 30-day travel ban on people coming to and from Europe and said healthcare companies have agreed to waive all copayments for all coronavirus treatments.

We are responding with great speed and professionalism,” Trump said on the US response to tackling the coronavirus outbreak in the US, which has so far infected over 1,000 people and killed at least 38 others

Trump’s comments come after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, has spread to more than 100 countries around the globe and has infected over 121,000 people

The WHO defines a pandemic as “the worldwide spread of a new disease. The last time the WHO declared a pandemic was in 2009 for the H1N1 influenza outbreak

“WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock, and we’re deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction,” the WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told reporters in Geneva.

Still, Tedros said last week that “containment of COVID-19 is feasible and must remain the top priority for all countries.”

At least 18 US states so far have declared states of emergency in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Despite the possibly alarming news, declaring an emergency is a strategic announcement that can help states activate emergency response plans and state emergency operation centers. It also can help governments get reimbursed for money they spend on preparedness from the state and federal government, and it authorizes leaders to use funds to deploy additional personnel, buy equipment, and prepare stockpiles.

Vice President Mike Pence said at a press conference on Monday that he has not been tested for coronavirus, and he is unsure if President Donald Trump has been tested either. 

Reporters asked Trump if he had been tested for the virus, but Trump left the room before answering the question. Pence said he was unsure if Trump was tested but would get an answer from the White House doctor. 

Questions concerning Trump and Pence getting tested for coronavirus follow several members of Congress announcing self-quarantine after attending the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last month. Conference organizers announced on Sunday that an attendee tested positive for COVID-19.

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