President Donald Trump speaks in an address to the nation from the Oval Office at the White House about the coronavirus Wednesday,  in Washington.
President Donald Trump speaks in an address to the nation from the Oval Office at the White House about the coronavirus Wednesday, in Washington.
AP/PTI

Washington: President Donald Trump, trying to shore up the nation’s confidence in his ability to handle the corona pandemic, will hold a press conference where he is expected to declare a national emergency. The declaration will open the door to more millions of dollars in federal funds for states and cities.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, spoke to Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday and requested the Trump administration to declare an emergency to provide vital assistance to states such as Washington on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis, a Washington state official told CNN.

Trump has been criticised for persistently downplaying the pandemic and is under pressure to take more decisive action. His press conference comes after a widely panned national address on Wednesday, which not only failed to calm growing nerves but contained serious factual errors and was followed by a massive stock market sell-off.

Trump announced the press conference after reports emanated that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who dined with him on Saturday at Mar-a-Lago, had tested positive for the disease. (Though a second test showed a negative result).

Trump has thus far not revealed if he has been tested but the White House said that was not the case. The White House also said the first family will not go into quarantine despite their closeness to several confirmed cases of the virus in the past week. A dignitary who had met Ivanka trump, too, has tested positive.

Trump will be under pressure at the press meet to explain why he is not being tested for coronavirus himself, or even going into self-quarantine.

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