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Woman in NJ under mandatory quarantine after traveling from epicenter of coronavirus outbreak

A person in New Jersey has been placed under mandatory quarantine after traveling from the epicenter of the deadly coronavirus outbreak in China.

The woman, who is not a resident of the state, flew from Hubei Pronvince to Newark Liberty International Airport on Tuesday on a United Airlines flight, according to the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH).

She did not show any symptoms of coronavirus but, because she traveled within the province where the virus originated, health officials told her she had to be placed under quarantine.

The NJDOH said the woman is staying at an undisclosed location in Essex County where she will be monitored and screened for the next two weeks. 

Officials stressed that despite the quarantine order, the risk to the state is low.

‘The risk of novel coronavirus transmission in New Jersey residents remains low,’ Nicole Kirgan, a spokeswoman for NJDOH said. 

There are no confirmed cases in New Jersey but there are 12 confirmed cases in the US, including the most recently confirmed in Wisconsin on Wednesday.

There are now more than 24,000 confirmed cases worldwide, in at least 25 countries and territories, and nearly 500 people – all except two outside of China – have died. 

The twelfth case of coronavirus has been confirmed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services but not by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

The patient was in Beijing sometime in the last two weeks, but its unknown if he or she traveled elsewhere in mainland China.

Health officials said at a news conference that the patients was ‘doing well’ and ‘in isolation at home’ but few other details were given.  

As of Wednesday, 10 people in Wisconsin have been tested for coronavirus with seven testing negative and three people with results pending.

The state department said the ill person poses no immediate danger and the risk to the public, both in Wisconsin and the general US population, is ‘low.’

A child who was among the 195 Americans on the first flight evacuated from Wuhan, and who are now quarantined at March Air Reserve in Riverside, California, has been hospitalized with a fever,    

Aside from a fever, the child had other symptoms, according to Jose Arballo, Jr, a spokesman from the Riverside County Department of Public Health.

Samples were taken and sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for testing, with results expected to return shortly. Results are expected soon. 

If the child is confirmed to have coronavirus, they would be the 13th in the US and the seventh diagnosed in California, but the first case among the quarantined passengers. 

But, if the results are the negative, the child and his parent will return to March Air Reserve Base. 

Arballo Jr says the child is ‘in good spirits’ but would not elaborate further. 

On Wednesday, two additional evacuation flights carrying 500 Americans from Wuhan arrived in California: one at Travis Air Force Base in Sacramento and the other at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.

Just as with the first flight, the passengers will be placed under a mandatory 14-day quarantine at their respective locations.

This is the first time the CDC has mandated a quarantine in 50 years.     

Two more evacuation flights are expected to arrive later this week, one at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and the other at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska.

The CDC have shipped coronavirus tests to more than 100 labs after getting emergency approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), officials said on Wednesday.

Its test, previously only authorized for use at CDC’s own lab was green-lit last night for distribution to any CDC-authorized lab with a certain classification, though it’s unclear how many of these there are in the US.

Each of the first 100 or so labs will get two test kits, capable of screening 700 to 800 patient samples, said Dr Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

Kits are expected in time for broader testing to start next week.

‘The availability of this test is the starting place for greater commercial testing for [2019-nCoV],’ said Dr Messonnier, and suggested that states may start reporting more confirmations faster soon.

‘We’ve been preparing for an outbreak like this for years…[this is] the beginning of what could be a long response.’

Under the emergency use authorization, the 2019-nCoV Real-Time RT-PCR diagnostic panel can be used in patients who meet the CDC criteria for coronavirus testing.

As of Wednesday – in addition to the 11 confirmed US cases – 167 people have tested negative, 82 tests are pending, and the CDC is following 36 ‘people under investigation.’

Dr Messonnier said on Wednesday there are no new cases confirmed in the US, but that she expects there will be.

A deluge of those diagnoses may be on its way soon, as four additional planes repatriate Americans who had been trapped in Wuhan and as the newly-approved tests reach more labs.

‘Negative results do not preclude 2019-nCoV infection and should not be used as the sole basis for treatment or other patient management decisions,’ the FDA said in a Tuesday evening statement.

Only one of the 11 identified cases so far was someone detected in airport screening. 

  

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced LAST WEEK that it was declaring the deadly coronavirus outbreak spreading from China to be a global health emergency.

The warning, officially known as a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ and defined as an ‘extraordinary event’, is the highest alert the UN health agency can issue.

Just one week ago, the organization decided to hold off the declaration as there was no evidence of human-to-human evidence outside of China.

However, in the week since, the number of cases surged ten-fold. 

‘The main reason for this declaration is not for what is happening in China but because of what is happening in other countries,’ Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, said at a press conference.

‘Our greatest concern is for the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems, which are ill prepared to deal with it.’

He added that the declaration didn’t mean a ‘vote of no confidence in China’ and, in fact, congratulated the Chinese government for taking ‘extraordinary measures’ to contain the outbreak.

This marks the fifth time the WHO has made such a declaration since the rule to do was implemented in 2005: for the influenza pandemic of 2009, a resurgence of polio 2014, the Ebola crisis in 2014, the outbreak of Zika virus outbreak in 2016 and the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2019.

Such a declaration does not give the WHO more money, but officials can make recommendation on travel or trade was well as mobilize public and political action.

 

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