Health officials: Coronavirus spread to the US 'inevitable'

  • Health officials: Coronavirus spread to the US 'inevitable'
    President Donald Trump has said the situation is "well under control". Health officials: Coronavirus spread to the US 'inevitable'
By Reuters, BBC
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U.S. braces for coronavirus spread as outbreaks worsen in Italy, Iran

There are 53 confirmed cases in the US, and officials are calling on Congress to urgently pass billions of dollars on the response effort.

President Donald Trump has said the situation is "well under control".

However, virus fears have sent stock markets plunging for a second day in a row.

More than 2,700 people have died and some 80,000 have been taken ill, mostly in China where the virus originated.

Outside China, Iran, South Korea and Italy have reported the largest number of cases causing concern that the virus could be becoming a pandemic.

On Tuesday, US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention experts warned Americans of the coming outbreak.

"We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad," said Dr Nancy Messonnier of the National Center for Immunisation and Respiratory Diseases in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.

- The United States told Americans on Tuesday to begin preparing for coronavirus to spread within the country as outbreaks in Iran, South Korea and Italy escalated and fears that the epidemic would hurt global growth rattled markets.

Iran’s coronavirus death toll rose to 16 on Tuesday, the most outside China, while Italy reported its 11th death. The virus has jumped to about 30 countries and territories, with some three dozen deaths outside China, according to a Reuters tally.

Worsening infections in Iran, Italy and South Korea are of particular concern, world health officials said. South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures to help curb the virus’ global spread.

Believed to have originated from wildlife in Wuhan city late last year, the flu-like disease has infected 80,000 people and killed close to 2,700 in China. But the World Health Organization (WHO) said the outbreak there has been declining since Feb. 2.