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White House Seeks $2.5 Bln Funding To Fight Coronavirus

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The White House has requested the Congress to approve $2.5 billion in emergency funding to fight the fast-spreading coronavirus in the country. The Trump administration will utilize the fund to develop a vaccine for the deadly disease, therapeutics and stockpiling medical equipment.

"Today, the administration is transmitting to Congress a $2.5bn supplemental funding plan to accelerate vaccine development, support preparedness and response activities, and to procure much-needed equipment and supplies," said Rachel Semmel, a spokeswoman for the White House Office of Management and Budget.

"To this point, no agency has been inhibited in response efforts due to resources or authorities. However, much is still unknown about the virus and the disease it causes," Russell Vought, the acting director at the Office of Management and Budget, wrote in the letter to the Congress.

In the United States, 14 people in six states were confirmed positive in lab tests. 12 of them were those who returned from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, while two others contracted the virus domestically.

Besides, 36 passengers who were repatriated to the United States from the coronavirus-hit cruise ship Diamond Princess off Japan also were tested positive for the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said.

According to a global map published by it, coronavirus infections were reported in 35 countries. They are, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Afghanistan, Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Cambodia, Canada, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Russia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.

President Donald Trump said on Monday that the Coronavirus is very much under control in the United States. "We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me," he said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the United States is considering suspending joint military exercises with South Korea over the new coronavirus concerns.

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