Trump administration bases coronavirus advice on Australian research

Washington: The Trump administration has used work by Australian public health experts as the basis for a new set of guidelines to help Americans protect themselves from the coronavirus.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, centre, addresses the media alongside Vice-President Mike Pence, right, and Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator, on Monday.Credit:Bloomberg

At a briefing on Monday (Tuesday AEDT), White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases boss Anthony Fauci urged Americans to consult the new guidelines.

"All of this came from a paper that Dr Fauci provided from the Australians," Birx said.

Fauci said the advice, to be uploaded to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, would cover how to minimise the risk of contracting the disease in the home, the workplace and while travelling.

"These are really simple, low-tech things," Fauci said.

"There is nothing in there that is complicated. It's just stated in a way that is clear, that people can understand."

It is believed that Craig Dalton, a public health expert at the University of Newcastle, was the lead author of the paper the US officials were referring to.

The briefing followed a day of carnage on Wall Street, where the US sharemarket recorded its worst day since the 2008 financial crisis.

President Donald Trump said the administration was preparing a "major" economic stimulus package – including cuts to payroll tax and paid sick leave for workers.

"We are going to take care of and have been taking care of the American public and the American economy," Trump said.

"We’re also going to be talking about hourly wage earners getting help so they can be in a position where they’re not ever going to miss a pay cheque."

He said there would also be targeted relief for the sectors most affected by the outbreak, including the cruise ship and hospitality sectors.

The measures will be announced at a press conference on Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT) after Trump meets with Republican Senate leaders.

Trump departed the latest press briefing without taking questions from reporters, including shouted questions about whether he has been tested for the illness.

Trump shook hands a few days ago with a Republican congressman who has gone into self-isolation after interacting with a man infected with the coronavirus at a recent political conference.

Despite the huge sharemarket declines, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said: "This is not like the financial crisis."

The S&P 500 plunged 7.4 per in the first few minutes after the opening bell, sparking a 15-minute trading halt. This was the first time market-wide circuit breakers have been triggered for the first time since 1997, according to AP.

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