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US announces $19 billion relief for farmers, $8.4 million aid to Pakistan to fight coronavirus COVID-19

US President Donald Trump has announced a $19 billion financial rescue package to help the struggling agriculture industry amid the coronavirus crisis.
In a press conference on Friday (April 17), Trump said that the government "will be implementing a $19 billion relief program for our great farmers and ranchers as they cope with the fallout of the global pandemic."
The program includes direct payments to farmers, ranchers and producers who Trump said have experienced "unprecedented losses during this pandemic."
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said US farmers have been hit hard by a sharp shift in demand, as schools and restaurants close and more Americans eat at home. That has disrupted the food supply chain, forcing farmers in many places to destroy dairy output and plough under crops that no longer have buyers.
"Having to dump milk and plough under vegetables ready to market is not only financially distressing, but it's heartbreaking as well to those who produce them," Perdue said.
The US farm and food industry has been hit in numerous ways by the coronavirus epidemic. Farmers are having trouble finding seasonal labourers to prepare and harvest crops. But the change in the way consumers eat has had a huge impact. "Shuttered schools, universities, restaurants, bars and cafeterias are no longer buying milk, meat, fruits, vegetables and other food, causing a downward spiral in crop and livestock prices," the American Farm Bureau was quoted as saying.
Trump also announced, that 80 million Americans have received their coronavirus relief money. "The Treasury has sent out economic relief payments to more than 80 million Americans," Trump said on Friday.
Last month, Trump had signed into law a $2.2 trillion economic rescue package to combat the coronavirus outbreak and send economic relief to workers and businesses squeezed by restrictions meant to stop the spread of the deadly virus.
Meanwhile, United States has announced an aid of $8.4 million to Pakistan in its fight against coronavirus. The announcement was made by the United States Ambassador to Pakistan, Paul Jones, on Friday.
"With more than $8 million in new contributions, the United States is collaborating with the government of Pakistan to help stop the spread of coronavirus nationwide and to care for afflicted people," Jones said in a video message. 
The total number of COVID-19 cases across 185 nations spiralled towards 2,204,511 and the death toll stood at 149,378 at 11.45 pm (IST) on Friday (April 17), with the highest numbers both in positive cases and death toll, the US continues to remain the worst-hit with a total of 679,374 cases and death toll at 34,180. 

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