White House requesting $1.25B as part of $2.5B plan to fight coronavirus


(ABC News) — The White House is requesting $1.25 billion in emergency funding from Congress as part of a total commitment of $2.5 billion to fight the novel coronavirus, according to a congressional official.

If approved, the funds will be earmarked for accelerated vaccine development, support preparedness and response activities, and the procurement of equipment and supplies, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget.

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As of Monday, 53 people in the United States had tested positive for the coronavirus, or COVID-19, as the virus is officially known.

Also Monday, a surge in the number of coronavirus cases in South Korea prompted the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to issue a warning advising travelers to avoid the East Asian country.

The CDC raised its travel warning to the highest level — “avoid unnecessary travel” — for those contemplating travel to South Korea, which currently has more than 800 cases of the coronavirus.

The heightened warning came on the same day that officials said a family member of a U.S. service member in South Korea had beenĀ diagnosed with the virus. In a press release, U.S. Forces Korea announced that it had been informed by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that a military dependent living in Daegu had tested positive for the coronavirus.

It marks the first time a U.S. Forces Korea-related individual tested positive for the virus, the release said.

South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-Doo said that as of Monday, there were 13 South Korean military personnel infected with the virus.

Partly as a result, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Monday that the U.S. and South Korea were considering scaling back an upcoming joint military command exercise.