State Department Issues New Travel Warning as Coronavirus Continues to Spread

Posted: Jan 24, 2020 11:50 AM
State Department Issues New Travel Warning as Coronavirus Continues to Spread

Source: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

The deadly coronavirus that originated in China struck its first U.S. patient in Washington state. Then there were reports of a case in Texas, and now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that an individual is infected in Chicago. In total, the virus has killed 17 people throughout Asia and infected over 800 others.

With the threat spreading, the U.S. State Department issued a China Travel Advisory, urging travelers to continue to “exercise increased caution” amid the “novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan.” 

Meanwhile, central China is essentially on lockdown, with Chinese authorities urgently shutting down 12 cities. China has also taken drastic steps to quarantine as many people as possible.

Public health officials in Chicago shared more information about the patient who had contracted the virus. The 60-year-old female has had very limited movement outside her home, said Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health. The patient has also not taken public transportation and, to their best knowledge, has not had extended contact with anyone since her return. This, Dr. Arwady said, is "reassuring."

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The national and local risks remain "low," the officials stressed.

The first known U.S. patient, in Seattle, is being treated by Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips at Providence St. Joseph Health. The symptoms for those affected, she explained, are "flu-like." They include a fever, cough, and respiratory issues like shortness of breath.

The coronavirus was first contracted in Wuhan, China in a seafood and poultry market.