Coronavirus: Trump says he 'doesn't want everyone getting tests' as he blames slow rate on 'rules and regulations'

‘I don’t take responsibility at all’, says president 

Donald Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus pandemic

Donald Trump has said he does not want everyone getting tested for coronavirus, while seeking to insist such testing would rapidly be available for those who required it.

Formally announcing a national emergency in order to help combat the spread of the virus the has infected at least 1,900 Americans and killed more than 40, the president said the government was working with private companies to speed up the availability of testing – something over which he has faced intense criticism. He rejected criticism that he was responsible for the shortfall in testing, or access to test kits

“We want to make sure that those who did a test can get a test very safely quickly and conveniently,” he said, speaking in the ground of the White House.

“But we don’t want people to take the test if, if we feel that they shouldn’t be doing it. And we don’t want everyone running out and taking it – only those have certain symptoms.”

The Trump administration has been criticised over its response to the virus and the president’s initial ability to play down its seriousness.

Earlier this week, Dr Anthony Fauci, who leads the national institute of allergy and infectious disease, admitted there had been a lag in testing.

“The system is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for. That is a failing,” he said on Capitol Hill. “It is a failing. I mean, let’s admit it.”

The US has tested fewer than 12,000 people for the disease since January. In South Korea, authorities have been testing as many as 10,000 a day. The low figure has been attributed in part to logjams at medical facilities and faulty diagnosis kits, as well as a decision not to adopt a World Health Organisation-approved testing kit.

“That’s partly because more testing might have led to more cases being discovered of coronavirus outbreak,” said Dan Diamond, a Politico health reporter who has been investigating the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaking to NPR, he added: “The president had made clear – the lower the numbers on coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential re-election this fall.”

Mr Trump was asked whether he bore any responsibility for the shortfall in testing.

“I don’t take responsibility at all, because we were given...rules, regulations and specifications from a different time,” he said.

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