Breaking: China quarantines the city of Wuhan amid coronavirus outbreak

Update: The People’s Republic of China has quarantined the city of Wuhan and is beginning the shutdown of all public transportation and the airport, according to multiple reports.

It is believed Wuhan is where the deadly Coronavirus originated and has now gone global, killing at least 17 and sickening over 400.

The country’s social networks are driving a lot of speculation about what measures the communist government will take eliminate the threat of a widespread outbreak.


Douglas Perry

The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

The novel coronavirus that’s infected around 300 people in China, and killed at least six, has reached the United States.

A man in Snohomish County, Wash., is the first confirmed case in the U.S., The New York Times reported Tuesday. The man began experiencing symptoms after returning from a recent trip to China and is being described as “quite ill.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement that it “is working closely with the state of Washington and local partners. A CDC team has been deployed to support the ongoing investigation in the state of Washington, including potentially tracing close contacts to determine if anyone else has become ill.”

Oregon health officials are meeting Tuesday to figure out exactly how they should respond to the virus’s spread. Infectious disease experts will discuss what they’ve learned from federal health officials and consider options for protecting Oregonians, state spokesman Jonathan Modie said.

“If we feel there is a level of risk where we need to warn the public about it, then we will do that,” Modie said.

There are various possible outcomes of the meeting. The Oregon Health Authority could decide to instruct health-care providers and local health departments on how to prepare for the virus’s potential appearance in Oregon, for example. They also could create an “incident management team”– a group of health experts who meet regularly to talk about the status of the outbreak. And health officials could warn the public through the media, Modie said.

The international outbreak, believed to have started last month at a poultry-and-seafood market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has already prompted federal officials to begin taking steps to protect the U.S. public. Three major airports – in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles – have begun screening passengers traveling from or connecting through Wuhan. Screenings also are being added at airports in Atlanta and Chicago.

This coronavirus had never been identified in humans before the outbreak began in December. Chinese authorities have discovered that the virus likely can be transmitted not only from animal to person but also from person to person. Medical experts have likened it to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which also started in China.

The CDC has a website with the latest information about the outbreak.

— Douglas Perry


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