KEY POINTS

  • The national guard will carry out approved missions to control coronavirus
  • Trump stressed that the federal government will only act as a backup
  • He underscored the importance of the governors' command
  • Announcement came after New York Gov. Cuomo requested help from federal government

President Donald Trump on Sunday announced the activation of the U.S. National Guards in three states that were hit hardest by the novel coronavirus, Washington, New York, and California, in order to assist them.

Trump said that the guards will be carrying out approved missions to keep the virus in check. The federal government will be covering the costs of the national guard deployed in these states.

Trump's announcement came at a news conference hours after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo requested the government's help to acquire medical supplies.

"I think the federal government should order factories to manufacture masks, gowns, ventilators, the essential medical equipment that is going to make the difference between life and death," CNN quoted Cuomo speaking at a press conference earlier on Sunday. "It's not hard to make a mask or PPE (personal protective equipment) equipment or a gown, but you need companies to do it."

Trump later added that his relationship with Cuomo is amazing and that the federal government will only act as a backup in the three states, underscoring the importance of the governors' command.

"We'll be following them and we hope they can do the job and I think they will. I spoke with all three of the governors today, just a little while ago and they're very happy with what we're going to be doing," Trump said at the conference.

In addition to the national guard, large quantities of masks, respirators, gowns, face shields, and other items are due to arrive in the three states in the next few days. Trump also announced the setup of additional medical stations in these states to help counter the virus. He also assured that the victory over the novel coronavirus will come much earlier than expected.

As of Sunday night, the states of Washington, California and New York were approved for major disaster declarations. This status allows supplies to be provided more easily to these states by the federal government.

The U.S. currently has over 30,000 cases of novel coronavirus and at least 400 people have died due to it.

US President Donald Trump, during the now-daily briefing of the White House coronavirus task force on March 20, 2020 US President Donald Trump, during the now-daily briefing of the White House coronavirus task force on March 20, 2020 Photo: AFP / JIM WATSON