President Trump said Tuesday that his administration was working closely to help the beleaguered airline and cruise ship industries, which have been battered by the spreading coronavirus.
“We are working very closely with the cruise line industry, and … taking strong steps in terms of people going on and going off. But they are spending a lot of money and they are working very hard, and we’re going to be helping that industry,” the president said at the White House during a sitdown with top health insurance company execs.
“Likewise with the airline industry. They’re taking very, very strong steps for people coming into our country, even getting off the planes. So we are working very closely with them, we’re helping them. They’re two great industries and we’ll be helping them through this patch, and so far I think it’s been going very well,” he said before turning his attention to the cruise ship the Grand Princess, which was stuck at sea for days because a number of passengers were infected but began allowing passengers to leave this week after it docked in California.
“You know all about the big ship that came in yesterday, and that’s going along incredibly well. [We’re] working with the state of California successfully, very successfully, also with Canada and with the UK,” he said, referring to the home countries of some of the passengers on the ship.
“The UK is taking their citizens back and Canada, about 600 people are coming back. They’re being met and brought to planes and being brought in a very dignified fashion back into Canada,” Trump said.
“So we appreciate all of the help we’ve had, and that’s working out very well.”
Earlier, Vice President Mike Pence said the execs had agreed to cover coronavirus treatment and testing.
“The coronavirus testing and treatment would be covered. These private insurance carriers have extended that as well. They’ve also agreed to cover telemedicine so that anyone, particularly among the vulnerable senior population, would not feel it necessary to go to a hospital or go to their doctor, they’ll know that telemedicine is covered,” he said before repeating the president’s message that the risk to the average American was low.
“As you said, Mr. President, while the risk to the average American of contracting the coronavirus remains low, we want a full partnership with industry and give the American people all the information they need to avoid contracting or spreading the coronavirus,” Pence said.
Gail Boudreau, president of Anthem, said the industry was committed to helping Americans cope with the virus.
”One of the things I think is most important, from day one as an industry and the company at Anthem, we have been very focused on ensuring access to care and that cost is not an issue for people to have the testing appropriately done, so we’re pleased that we’re able to continue to expand this access,” she said. “We are very supportive of the efforts underway.”
The president did not take any questions.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said earlier Tuesday that he could not say how many Americans have been tested for the virus, which has so far killed 25 people in the US.
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