Donald Trump vows ‘major’ steps to aid US economy amid coronavirus rise

 

Vice President Mike Pence said the administration was consulting Congress on providing paid sick leave to workers, an idea that Democrats already have been trying to advance.

The stepped-up response to the coronavirus came as the number of confirmed cases in the United States hit 605, according to Johns Hopkins University. Three additional deaths in Washington state, according to officials, brought the total nationwide to 25.

The Trump administration moves came as stock markets plunged and top health officials urged some people to avoid cruise ships, air travel and big public gatherings.

The administration was planning to huddle in coming days with executives of the banking, hospital and health insurance industries.

While an across-the-board payroll tax cut has been under discussion, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow and others have advocated specific tax credits, loans or direct subsidies to certain industries or hard-hit areas.

A payroll tax cut could encourage consumer spending and help households that might otherwise struggle to make rent and mortgage payments on time or pay medical bills if family members’ work hours are reduced during the coronavirus outbreak.

In Florida, state health officials said everyone returning from China, Iran, South Korea and Italy must isolate for 14 days while travellers from other countries affected by the outbreak should monitor their health.

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