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White House calls for $2.5bn urgent coronavirus funding

The White House has sent lawmakers an urgent budget request for $2.5billion to address the deadly coronavirus outbreak, whose rapid spread and threat to the global economy rocked financial markets.

The White House budget office said the funds are for vaccines, treatment, and protective equipment. The request could advance quickly through Congress and came as coronavirus fears were credited with Monday’s 1,000-plus point drop in the Dow Jones Industrials and are increasingly seen as a potential political threat to Donald Trump.

The request was released on Monday evening and came as key government accounts were running low. The Department of Health and Human Services had already tapped into an emergency infectious disease rapid response fund and was seeking to transfer more than $130 million from other HHS accounts to combat the virus but is pressing for more.

“Today, the Administration is transmitting to Congress a $2.5 billion supplemental funding plan to accelerate vaccine development, support preparedness and response activities and to procure much needed equipment and supplies,” said White House budget office spokeswoman Rachel Semmel.

“We are also freeing up existing resources and allowing for greater flexibilities for response activities.”

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