Joe Biden Slams Trump Over Coronavirus Response, Says Administration's 'Failure on Testing is Colossal'

Former Vice President Joe Biden slammed President Donald Trump over his response to the coronavirus outbreak, stating that his administration's approach to testing has been nothing short of a disaster.

"The administration's failure on testing is colossal and it's a failure of leadership, planning and execution," Biden said in an address about the COVID-19 outbreak in Wilmington, Delaware on Thursday afternoon.

"This virus laid bare the severe shortcomings of the current administration," the former vice president and Democratic primary contender added.

The number of coronavirus cases across the country has exceeded 1,200, with at least 36 deaths, according to the latest data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The outbreak was recently declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

In his campaign remarks Thursday, Biden also laid out his proposed response to the pandemic. The plan includes: free testing for anyone who needs it, drive-thru testing sites, emergency paid family and medical leave and multi-hundred-bed temporary hospitals.

joe biden coronavirus response
Democratic presidential hopeful former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 10, 2020. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Biden's speech came just hours after Trump addressed the nation on the status of the coronavirus outbreak on Wednesday night.

Trump announced that he would ban many foreign travelers from Europe for the next 30 days. The ban is expected to go into effect Friday at midnight. The Department of Homeland Security said the restriction only applies to foreign nationals, not to U.S. citizens or green card holders.

"The European Union failed to take the same precautions and restrict travel from China and other hot spots," Trump said from the Oval Office. "As a result, a large number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe."

The president also mistakenly claimed during his prime-time address that the ban would apply to European goods, which prompted the White House to later clarify that trade wouldn't be affected by the new measures.

Biden criticized the Trump administration for the measure, arguing that "banning all travel from Europe or any other part of the world may slow it, but it will not stop it."

"Downplaying it, being overly dismissive or spreading disinformation will only hurt us and further advantage the spread of the disease. But neither should we panic or fall back on xenophobia. Labeling COVID-19 a 'foreign virus' doesn't displace accountability for the misjudgments that have been taken so far by the Trump administration," Biden said.

The former vice president has already canceled several rallies over coronavirus concerns, instead opting for virtual events. The move came after his campaign launched a Public Health Advisory Committee to provide advice on what the campaign should do to "minimize health risks for the candidate, staff and supporters."

In his remarks Thursday, Biden urged the need for a "national response" to the COVID-19 outbreak.

"The coronavirus does not have a political affiliation. It will infect Republicans, independents and Democrats alike," he warned. "It will touch people in positions in power, as well as the most vulnerable in our society."