White House: ‘No Cause for Urgent Panic’ on Coronavirus

A Ukrainian tourist walks in the arrival hall of the Internatioanal Boryspil airport outside Kiev after his plane landed from China on January 30, 2020. - The first out of four special flights will be held on January 30, 2020 in order to evacuate hundreds of Ukrainian tourists from China …

The White House reassured Americans on Thursday it is properly monitoring and containing the coronavirus.

“This is no cause for urgent panic in any way in the United States,” Assistant Secretary of Public Health ADM Brett Giroir told reporters. “This is currently under control.”

Giroir spoke about the virus during a White House press briefing with counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway and National Drug Control Policy Director Jim Carroll. Currently, there have been five confirmed cases of the virus in the United States as health officials continue monitoring and testing individuals.

Giroir acknowledged the virus originating in Wuhan, China, was a “dynamic rapidly changing event” but the government was mobilized to address and contain the threat.

“This is an all hands on deck effort,” Giroir said.

He said currently there had been no person-to-person transmissions of the virus in the United States and extensive screenings, quarantines, and isolations were ongoing.

“All the resources are in place, the situation rooms are in place, the operation centers are in place, we have CDC deployed,” he said.

White House officials did not comment on whether the president had spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping about the spread of the virus or whether he would consider a travel ban on people from China. At least 170 people have died in China from the virus and more than 7,700 cases have been confirmed in China.

When one reporter asked whether the virus might be connected to a possible bioweapon from China, Conway replied, “I have no comment whatsoever.”

On Thursday, President Trump announced the formation of a task force specifically directed to monitor and fight the spread of coronavirus, lead by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar.

The team met in the Situation Room at the White House to brief the president.

The president shared images of the meeting on Twitter.

“We have the best experts anywhere in the world, and they are on top of it 24/7!” he wrote.


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