coronavirus: Donald Trump plans to use defence production act for virus test kits

WASHINGTON: The Trump administration plans to use the Defence Production Act on Tuesday to procure 60,000 coronavirus test kits, amid severe shortages of kits, masks, ventilators and other crucial equipment for healthcare workers, a federal official said.

Peter Gaynor, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told CNN the administration had decided to use the Defence Production Act because “there are some test kits we need to get our hands on”. It would be the first time the act is being used for the coronavirus crisis.

Trump invoked the act last week but said he would hold off on using it until it was necessary, prompting criticism from Democrats. The law, which dates to the Korean War of the 1950s, grants the president broad authority to “expedite and expand the supply of resources from the US industrial base to support military, energy, space and homeland security programs,” according to the FEMA website.

“We’re actually going to use the DPA for the first time today. There are some test kits we need to get our hands on. And the second thing we’re going to do is insert some language into these mask contract we have — 500 million masks — DPA language will be in that today,” Gaynor said on CNN.

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