China has quarantined the city of Wuhan, population over 11 million and ground zero of the Coronavirus outbreak.
The problem remains that prior to the quarantine, travelers from Wuhan have now arrived at points across the globe, spreading the highly-infectious disease. The first US case of Coronavirus has been reported in Snohomish County, Washington, where a traveler from Wuhan, China has been confirmed to be infected.
Hong Kong authorities report a second confirmed case of coronavirus. RTHK
— FXHedge (@Fxhedgers) January 22, 2020
Washington state health officials said Wednesday that investigators have identified 16 “close contacts” of a 30-year-old man who is the first confirmed case of coronavirus diagnosed in the United States.
The Snohomish County resident, who has not been named, identified people that he has interacted with since returning from Wuhan. Those named will be actively monitored for signs of any illness by local health officials.
Health officials said that they consider a “close contact” to be anyone who is within 6 feet of an infected person, like having a meal or meetings together, but that they are not asking those contacts to isolate themselves unless they have symptoms.
Health staff will reach out to the contacts daily to see if they have a fever or cough and to check if they develop any symptoms. Dr. Chris Spitters, the health officer for the Snohomish Health District, said there is also a call center set up to take resident’s questions about the virus.
Update 5 (1500ET): After praising all of China’s efforts to contain the outbreak, the WHO Director General announced that the emergency committee would delay its decision on whether to declare the coronavirus a major health emergency of international concern because the committee wants “more information.”
It’s unclear exactly what they’re hoping to learn between today and tomorrow, but with the pace at which the virus is spreading, it’s possible that nearly 1,000 cases will have been identified by then.
Only five other outbreaks have warranted this designation from the WHO.
Update 4 (1350ET): Almost exactly an hour after we tweeted a flight tracking map showing dozens of departures from Wuhan’s International Airport…
….Chinese authorities have reportedly suspended all outbound air and train travel from the city, expanding on their edict that nobody leave, and nobody enter, the city in central China, which has a population of 11 million people, making it larger than New York City.
No flights have taken off from that airport for the last 40 minutes
Screenings for the virus have been expanding to airports in Atlanta, Chicago, New York and elsewhere. Russia has tightened its border for Chinese travelers, and other countries have also stepped up screening efforts.
As the outbreak worsens, the people of Wuhan are feeling increasingly isolated as the number of cases surpasses 550, and the number of deaths has nearly doubled.
Shutting down outbound transportation of a provincial capital city is unprecedented in China since 1949. Didn't do so even during SARS in 2003. This is a forced step since virus is expanding fiercely. It will greatly increase the chance of epidemic being contained. https://t.co/mzVVX3OTr7
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) January 22, 2020
But as Beijing once again tries to convince the world that it has the situation under control, one reporter has offered some food for thought:
— Eunice Yoon (@onlyyoontv) January 22, 2020