The coronavirus has the potential to become a pandemic and is at a “decisive” stage, the head of the World Health Organization told reporters in Geneva.
U.S. health authorities moved to greatly expand the number of people who will be tested, adding travelers from several new countries and people with unexplained, severe respiratory illnesses. California is monitoring 8,400 people for signs of the virus after they traveled to Asia. Stocks tumbled.
In Asia, attention continues to focus on countries outside China as new cases slow at the epicenter of the outbreak. Japan will close all schools, while South Korean infections now top 1,700. The virus also is also spreading in Europe and the Middle East, with countries including Italy, Iran and Kuwait reporting more infections.
• Global deaths surpass 2,800, with more than 82,400 cases
• China death toll at 2,744, up 29; cases climb to 78,497, up 433
• Limited virus testing in Japan masks true scale of infection
• Japan to close all schools from Monday
U.S. Workers Didn’t Get Protective Gear
Federal employees who helped evacuate people from the center of the coronavirus outbreak in China didn’t get protective gear or training, the Washington Post said, citing a whistleblower’s complaint.
Trump administration officials disputed the report.
“Every precaution has been taken,” said William Walters, a health official with the U.S. State Department. “I can say unequivocally that everyone involved with those evacuations was appropriately equipped and trained.”