President Donald Trump said today the U.S. has a deadly Chinese coronavirus “totally under control” and there are no worries of a pandemic.
The virus, which sickened more than 400 people and killed at least 17 since December, has spread to four countries including the U.S., where the first case was reported in Washington state on Tuesday. Much is unknown about the contagion, but U.S. officials confirmed Tuesday it can be spread from human-to-human contact.
“We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China,” Trump said on CNBC's "Squawk Box." “It’s going to be just fine.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention anticipate more cases of the virus both in the U.S. and globally, Nancy Messonnier, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters Tuesday. Still, she said U.S. officials believe the risk to the American public at large is low.
The World Health Organization is convening an expert panel today to discuss whether the Wuhan virus should be designated "public health emergency of international concern," a rare step aimed at getting more money and resources from global donors to fight an outbreak.
More than a hundred tourists arrived in Aklan from Wuhan province in China, the ground zero for a novel strain of the infectious coronavirus, despite a health alert.
The government on Friday then decided to deport the 135 individuals who landed in Kalibo, Aklan before the Philippines officially declared a travel ban from the Chinese province.
Wyrlou Samodio, the chief of the Civil Aeronautics Board‘s legal division, said in a dzMM interview that Philippine carriers Royal Air Charter and Pan Pacific Airline will fly the travelers back via four flights.
Deportation despite clearance The tourists were not quarantined as they did not manifest symptoms associated with 2019-nCoV, based on the Bureau of Quarantine’s report through Aklan Provincial Health Officer Cornelio Cuachon, a physician.
Symptoms associated with the coronavirus are coughs, colds, fever and difficulty in breathing.
Even so, some Filipinos believed that the government’s decision to ban all incoming flights from Wuhan was overdue as the tourists have already settled in the Philippines.
A lecturer says she is "stranded" in China following the coronavirus outbreak.
Dr Yvonne Griffiths, 71, from Thornhill in Cardiff, has been in Wuhan for three weeks with two colleagues on behalf of Birmingham City University.
She is due to fly back on Monday but says there is a lockdown on public transport and does not know if flights will be running.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) said its consular team is ready to assist any British people who need help.
"In the hotel, where we are, everyone is wearing a mask," she told BBC Wales.
"As people have become more infected and the deaths have risen there was greater concern, and the institution where I was doing some work here decided they didn't want to continue courses.
"So, effectively, the work I was doing came to an end.
"The university in Birmingham very quickly booked myself and a couple of colleagues on a flight home on Monday and then we heard on Thursday that the airport here had closed and there was effectively lockdown of all public transport.
"At the moment we have no news when the airport will reopen.
"There's absolutely no information coming from any source when the lockdown will finish and when the public transport will reopen, so that's a concern."
Saturday's Lunar New Year celebrations were dampened in China by fears over the coronavirus outbreak and travel restrictions affecting 46 million people.
On the first day of the Lunar New Year, China's President Xi Jinping stressed the urgency of controlling the outbreak — which has seen hundreds more confirmed cases since Friday — and urged state authorities to prioritize containment efforts.
Chinese state media report that Xi called the outbreak a "grave situation" at a meeting of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee. He said it was a priority for the government, the Communist Party and the country to contain the situation and urged the public to follow the government's lead to help control the spread of the virus, according to state media.
More than 1,300 cases have been confirmed worldwide from the outbreak, and 54 people have died, including a 62-year-old doctor at a Wuhan hospital who contracted the virus from a patient, state media reports.
Officials in China's Hubei province confirmed 323 new cases on Saturday.
Infections from the virus have now been found on four continents, including a few cases in Australia, France and the U.S., among travelers who had recently been in China. Several other countries in Asia have reported cases as well.