Trump declares Florida COVID-19 disaster area

Ron DeSantis

FILE- In this March 23, 20202 file photo, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center front, arrives at a mobile testing site for a press conference Monday, March 23, 2020, in The Villages, Fla. The Villages, a retirement community, is one of the largest concentration of seniors in the U.S. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has been walking a tightrope for weeks during the coronavirus crisis, trying to protect both Floridians vulnerable to the virus and the cratering economy in a state of 21 million people. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – President Donald Trump has declared Florida a disaster area because of the new coronavirus outbreak. The president acted Wednesday, one day after Gov. Ron DeSantis requested the declaration.

Florida is the sixth state to receive one because of the viral outbreak. The move makes the state eligible for federal funding for emergency protective measures and crisis counseling. The declaration came shortly after the two major counties in the Tampa Bay area moved to impose lockdown orders. Restrictions have already been imposed by local officials in south and central Florida and elsewhere.

The state is approaching 1,700 confirmed cases and at least 21 have died.

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