MADRID, 30 Jan. –
The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has created a work team with the mandate to deal with the outbreak of a new coronavirus in China, at a time when Washington continues its evacuation process of its citizens from the Asian giant.
The White House has indicated in a statement that members of this entity “have been meeting daily since Monday” and has confirmed that Trump has asked them to “lead the United States Government's response to the coronavirus.”
The work team is headed by the Secretary of Health, Alex Azar, and is in coordination with the National Security Council. It is composed of experts from the White House and different agencies of the Administration.
Thus, “it will lead the Administration's efforts to monitor, contain and mitigate the spread of the virus, while ensuring that the American population has the most accurate and up-to-date information on health and travel.”
“The president's main priority is the health and well-being of the American people,” said the White House, which has stressed that “the risk of infection remains low for Americans.”
For its part, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus confirmed late on Wednesday that a flight had arrived in California from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, to evacuate “US government personnel and some Americans.”
“All appropriate steps are being taken to safeguard the health of these returning Americans (to the country), as well as the health and safety of Americans who are here at home,” he said.
Ortagus said the authorities “remain committed to doing everything possible to protect the health and well-being of US citizens abroad, including those still in Wuhan.”
“We are working closely with the Chinese authorities to offer them all possible help. We continue to encourage US citizens to review the travel alert to China … and to follow the advice of local health authorities,” he said.
The Health Commission of China has raised this Thursday to 170 those killed by the outbreak of the new coronavirus in the country and a total of 7,711 confirmed cases, spread across 31 Chinese provinces.
On the other hand, the authorities have revealed that they suspect that a total of 4,148 people could be affected, although the total number of suspected cases of coronavirus amounts to 12,167 people.
The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has convened for Thursday a new meeting of the emergency committee to weigh if the outbreak of coronavirus is an international health emergency, after ruling out this past week possibility.
Although China is the epicenter of the outbreak and the most affected country, the coronavirus has already spread to other countries in Southeast Asia and cases have also been detected in Europe and America.
Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.
In 2003, more than 600 people died worldwide (349 in China) due to SARS or acute respiratory syndrome, which left 5,327 affected in nine months.