Americans could be sent cheques within the next two weeks to support them during the cornavirus outbreak, while field hospitals could be set up to deal with patients, Donald Trump’s government announced.
The US president said sending direct cash payments to Americans as part of a promised $850 billion (£705.4bn) economic stimulus package would be faster than a payroll tax holiday he had earlier suggested.
Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin told a press briefing on Tuesday: “We’re looking at sending cheques to Americans immediately.
“And I mean, now in the next two weeks.”
An exact figure was not mentioned but some US politicians, including Republican senator Mitt Romney, have discussed cash payments of $1,000 (£830), which Mr Mnuchin said was “one of the ideas we like”.
The announcement came a day after Mr Trump announced a 15-day attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19 by avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people, working from home if it is possible, and not eating in bars and restaurants.
Mr Mnuchin also announced that field hospitals could be set up very quickly to deal with coronavirus patients and said the Army Corps of Engineers is ready to retrofit buildings to be used as hospitals.