US President Donald Trump has declared the coronavirus pandemic, a national emergency.

Speaking from the Rose Garden, President Trump said, “I am officially declaring a national emergency.” He said the emergency would open up nearly $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak. He also waived interest on federally held student loans and he 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.”

President 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.

The President 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.

There have been more than 4000 global deaths over the past 3 months from the COVID-19. Some 1700 persons have tested positive for the virus in the United States.