Coronavirus: Donald Trump wants cash sent to US public_1


The Trump administration is looking to send cheques to citizens in the next two weeks in an effort to curb the economic cost of the coronavirus outbreak, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says.

"The President has instructed me we have to do this now," he said at the White House briefing.

Mr Mnuchin didn't give details except to say the amount should be significant and millionaires would not get it.

"We want to make sure Americans get money in their pockets quickly," Mr Mnuchin said.

The stock market rose during the briefing after a savage drop on Monday.

The White House on Tuesday (local time) was asking Congress to approve a massive emergency rescue package to help businesses as well as taxpayers cope with the economic crisis that is paired with the pandemic.

Mr Mnuchin planned to outline that roughly $US850 billion ($A1.4 trillion) package to Senate Republicans at a private lunch, with officials aiming to have Congress approve it this week.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, opening the Senate on Tuesday morning (local time), promised swift action.

"The Senate will not adjourn until we have passed significant and bold new steps above and beyond what the House has passed to help our strong nation and our strong underlying economy weather this storm," Mr McConnell said.

Bigger than the 2008 bank bailout or the 2009 recovery act, the White House proposal aims to provide a massive tax cut for wage-earners, $US50 billion ($83 billion) for the airline industry and relief for small businesses.

Mr Trump last week announced the US was halting travel from Europe in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

The number of reported COVID-19 cases has surged past 5,800 in the US, as deaths approach the 100 mark.

-with agencies