27 People Under Watch After Contact with Only US Coronavirus Patient

KNX 1070
January 23, 2020 - 3:47 pm
edestrians wear face masks as they walk through a crosswalk in Causeway Bay district on January 23, 2020 in Hong Kong, China.



(AP/KNX 1070) - Health officials reported Thursday that 27 people are under watch after it was determined that they were in contact with a Snohomish, Washington man who tested positive for the first U.S. case of Wuhan coronavirus. 

The Snohomish County man is his 30s and is in isolation at  Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.

He has remained without symptoms after returning from a trip to Wuhan, China on January 15. 

China's National Health Commission is confirming 830 cases of the new respiratory virus with 25 deaths -- all of them in and around Wuhan. 

Although there is mounting concern here in L.A., and around the world about this new virus, the World Health Organization says it is not a global health emergency,  yet.

Health officials are trying to determine whether a sick passenger who flew into LAX Wednesday has the deadly coronavirus or the flu.

The coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has so far killed 17 people and sickened hundreds of others.

A sick traveler on a flight from Mexico City was taken to the hospital Wednesday night.

The first case in the U.S. was in Washington state on Jan 21. 

Chinese authorities Thursday moved to lock down three cities that are home to more than 18 million people in an unprecedented effort to contain the deadly new virus that has sickened hundreds and spread to other parts of the world during the busy Lunar New Year travel period.

Police, SWAT teams and paramilitary troops guarded Wuhan's train station, where metal barriers blocked the entrances at 10 a.m. Only travelers holding tickets for the last trains out were allowed to enter. Normally bustling streets, shopping malls, restaurants and other public spaces in the city of 11 million people were eerily quiet.

In addition to shutting down the train station, authorities closed the airport and halted ferry, subway and bus service.

Authorities announced similar measures would take effect Friday in the nearby cities of Huanggang and Ezhou. In Huanggang, theaters, internet cafes and other entertainment centers were also ordered closed.

In the capital, Beijing, authorities canceled “major events" indefinitely, including traditional temple fairs that are a staple of holiday celebrations, in order to “execute epidemic prevention and control.”

“To my knowledge, trying to contain a city of 11 million people is new to science," Gauden Galea, the World Health Organization's representative in China, said in an interview. “It has not been tried before as a public health measure. We cannot at this stage say it will or it will not work."

The illnesses from the newly identified coronavirus first appeared last month in Wuhan, an industrial and transportation hub in central China's Hubei province. The vast majority of mainland China's more than 570 cases have been in the city.

Other cases have been reported in the U.S., Japan, South Korea and Thailand. Singapore and Hong Kong reported their first cases Thursday. Most illnesses outside China involve people who were from Wuhan or had recently traveled there.

Associated Press contributed to this story.