Saturday 28 March 2020 8:33 am

Trump signs largest financial stimulus package in US history

US President Donald Trump has signed the largest financial stimulus package in US history, worth a total of $2tn (£1.7tn). 

The cross-party bill was passed by the House of Representatives as the country attempts to control the fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: FTSE 100 falls as coronavirus stimulus rally runs out of steam

The number of US citizens filing for unemployment reached record highs on Wednesday with 3.3m people. 

The US now has more than 100,000 positive cases of coronavirus, which is more than any other country, even China, where the outbreak originated.

The stimulus package was concluded in an historic signing ceremony at the White House as Trump thanked both parties “for coming together, setting aside their differences and putting America first.”

Trump said the package was “twice as large” as any prior relief bill.

“This will deliver urgently needed relief to our nation’s families, workers and businesses,” he said.

Prior to signing the act, Trump invoked the Defence Production Act (DPA), giving him the right as President to force private sector compaies to create items for national defence 

He said it would compel General Motors to manufacture medical ventilators for the state, which are needed to help save lives. 

Trump had threatened the action earlier in the day after criticising the automotive manufacturer for going back on their promise to provide the emergency medical equipment.

Read more: Oil prices tumble as coronavirus recession looms

He said that “tremendous [medical] supplies” would be coming soon and that “we’ve had great results on just about everything we’re talking about.”

New York remains the worst hit state, with 519 deaths and just under 45,000 confirmed cases. 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Friday that eight temporary hospitals were to be built to meet the continued surge in cases that are expected.