March 19, 2020 / 3:46 PM / 13 days ago

"Tens of thousands" of National Guard troops could be called up to help with coronavirus

WASHINGTON, March 19 (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. National Guard said on Thursday that he expected that tens of thousands National Guard troops could eventually be involved in efforts to help deal with the fast-moving coronavirus in the United States, but he did not see a need to federalize them.

“It’s hard to tell what the exact requirement will be, but I’m expecting tens of thousands to be used inside the states as this grows,” General Joseph Lengyel, chief of the National Guard Bureau said during a Pentagon press briefing.

Lengyel said while the president could federalize the National Guard, but he did not believe it made sense in this situation and was not aware of any plan to do so.

Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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