Coronavirus: Donald Trump says he is working with governors on Covid-19 testing, Cuomo to visit White House

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Donald Trump, United States, White House, Andrew Cuomo, coronavirus, Covid-19
U.S. President Donald Trump points to a reporter as he answers questions during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2020.

Washington, United States - U.S President also reveals he rejected sum South Korea offered for defence costs.

By Reuters

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Published: Tue 21 Apr 2020, 5:04 AM

Last updated: Tue 21 Apr 2020, 7:21 AM

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday he was working with state governors to make sure they had the resources needed to ramp up coronavirus testing and added that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would visit the White House to discuss the response to the pandemic.
At a White House briefing, Trump urged Americans to continue social-distancing efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, even as protesters across the country demanded an end to mandatory lockdowns and a quick reopening of the economy.
"During this time, Americans must maintain strict vigilance and continue to practice careful hygiene, social distancing and the other protective measures that we have outlined," Trump said.
Vice-President Mike Pence had a call with governors to discuss the response on Monday. Trump, who has been criticised for not offering states enough support in testing for coronavirus, said it was "a great call, very positive."
"Prior to the call, we provided each governor with a list of the names, addresses and phone numbers of labs where they can find additional testing capacity within their states," Trump said.
Cuomo, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of Trump's coronavirus response, will visit the White House on Tuesday afternoon, Trump said.
"They're getting it together in New York," Trump said of the state, which has been an epicenter for the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan told reporters after the call with Pence that she had asked the vice president for federal officials to speak out in support of social-distancing restrictions imposed by state leaders.

She said Pence, who is leading the Trump administration's pandemic response, vowed on the call to do as she requested.
At the White House briefing, Pence said the United States had enough testing nationwide to allow any state to start lifting lockdown orders forced by the coronavirus, if they have met other criteria including 14 days of declines in infections and enough hospital capacity to treat everyone who gets sick.
Meanwhile, President Trump revealed he had rejected a sum offered by South Korea in response to his demand that Seoul pay for a larger share of the cost of U.S. military forces deployed there.
"Now they've offered us a certain amount of money and I've rejected it," Trump said, adding that Seoul was paying about a billion dollars a year towards a U.S. troop presence of 28,000-32,000 personnel.
"We're defending a wonderful nation. We're asking them to pay for a big percentage of what we're doing. It's not fair. ... It's a question of will they contribute toward the defence of their own nation," Trump added.
Trump had rejected a South Korean offer made ahead of that country's mid-April parliamentary election of an increase of at least 13% from the previous cost-sharing accord.
"We're doing a tremendous service. We have a wonderful feeling and a wonderful relationship with each other, but we have to be treated equitably and fairly," Trump said.
When asked about reports that he was negotiating a reduction of U.S. troop numbers with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump appeared to reject this, replying:
"It's not a question of reduction, it's a question of, will they contribute toward the defense of their own nation? We're defending nations that are very wealthy. South Korea's a very wealthy nation - they make our television sets, they make ships, they make everything."
Trump said "we'll find out fairly soon" what would happen with the negotiation.
The White House said at the weekend that Trump spoke to Moon on Saturday and expressed appreciation for South Korea's help in procuring Covid-19 tests for the United States. It said they also discussed ways to strengthen the security relationship.



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