The U.S. Congress passed a multi-billion dollar aid bill meant to blunt the economic fallout of the coronavirus late on Friday.
The bill is expected to be signed into law next week after President Donald Trump tweeted his support for it.
The aid package stalled amid partisan rancour and extensive talks between Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and the White House.
By Friday evening Pelosi’s office said an agreement had been reached with the White House and Trump tweeted his “full support,” giving Republicans the green light to vote in favour of the package.
The bill passed the House 363-40 with Republican support in a vote on Friday evening.
It will next head to the Senate for a vote early next week, where it is expected to be approved and then be signed into law by Trump.
“The three most important parts of this bill are testing, testing, testing,” Pelosi said in a brief appearance before reporters on Friday.
She added uninsured people would also get tested under the legislation.
She said the law was “focused directly on supporting families.”
According to Pelosi, the package will also include enhanced paid sick leave, unemployment insurance, and boosts to other social safety net programmes.
Earlier on Friday, Trump said the Democrats were “not doing what’s right for the country” and said he did not support the package.
After hours of back room negotiations both sides were able to come to an agreement.
Meanwhile, the outbreak has spread into nearly every area of social life in the U.S. with a flurry of cancellations and closures announced on Thursday.
Broadway theatres in New York, Disneyland in California, and major sporting events throughout the country have been closed.
Delta Air Lines announced on Friday that it would suspend all flights to continental Europe for 30 days, in a move that excludes London, while reducing overall capacity by 40 per cent.
“Demand for travel is declining at an accelerated pace daily, driving an unprecedented revenue impact,” Delta said in a statement.
The number of deaths in the U.S. is at 41 with more than 1,600 cases, according to U.S. government numbers. (dpa/NAN)