Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

Trump Picks VP Pence to Hold Coronavirus Response

Thu 27 Feb 2020 | 01:21 PM

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday night named Vice President Mike Pence as head of a task force aimed to combat the outbreak of coronavirus.

The appointment of Pence came amid growing criticism of the White House's handling of the outbreak.

At a news conference, Trump said that the US administration is sparing no efforts with the aim of combating the deadly virus.

The President did not close the door to Senate Democrats' call for more than $8 billion in emergency funding for anti-coronavirus efforts, despite Democrats' dramatic jump from the $2.5 billion in total funding proposed by the White House.

"We'll spend whatever is appropriate. Hopefully, we won't have to spend so much because we really think that we've done a great job in keeping it down to a minimum," Trump said.

The President did not announce any new travel restrictions during the news conference, saying that "right now it's not the right time" for restrictions on other countries, including South Korea and Italy, which have had a large number of coronavirus cases.

While top health agencies have warned that it is merely a matter of time before the virus spreads in the United States, Trump has seemed focused on controlling the narrative to prevent a financial crisis from getting in the way of his re-election campaign.

Over the past three weeks, Trump has, on multiple occasions, asked administration officials about the different effects the spread of coronavirus could have on the world and U.S. economies, according to two people present for the conversations.

There have been more than 80,000 cases of coronavirus globally and the death toll has risen to more than 2,700, the majority in mainland China.

The US has 60 confirmed cases, US health officials said Tuesday, a number that is expected to grow.

Despite the spread of the virus, World Health Organization officials are not yet calling this a pandemic, though they're close.

In January, the WHO declared the outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern."