11 cases of coronavirus confirmed in the US as China accuses officials of over-reacting

More than 17,000 people now affected in two dozen countries

Alex Woodward
New York
Monday 03 February 2020 16:20
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Timelapse video shows China's emergency coronavirus hospital built within 10 days

Health officials in California have reported three more cases of coronavirus in the state, bringing the total number of patients infected with the respiratory illness in the US to 11 as the virus death toll climbs to 362 worldwide and infections spread to more than 17,000 people in nearly two dozen countries.

On Sunday, the San Benito County Health Department reported a 57-year-old man who returned to the US after travelling to Wuhan, China had infected his wife. The couple have isolated themselves inside their home.

Health department officials in Santa Clara County also reported a case in the Bay Area, where a man who recently returned from Wuhan is in stable condition and quarantined inside his home. Health officials said he didn't leave his house while he had symptoms except to seek medical care.

Meanwhile, Chinese officials have slammed the White House's response to the outbreak as a fear-mongering "overreaction" caused by poor coordination with Beijing as the country combats the spread of the flu-like illness. A foreign ministry spokeswoman told reporters at a briefing that the US "hasn't provided any substantial assistance" following the US evacuation of its personnel and a strict travel ban on Chinese travellers entering the US.

Hua Chunying told reporters: "All it has done could only create and spread fear, which is a bad example."

Chinese officials previously had criticised the US response to the outbreak after Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross suggested the epidemic would "help" bring jobs to the US if companies leave China.

Last week, US officials mandated drastic travel restrictions and screenings on the heels of the World Health Organisation's declaration of a global health emergency and a national emergency declaration.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Department of Health and Human Services announced that foreign nationals who have travelled to China within the last two weeks will be denied entry to the US, effective from 2 February. US citizens returning from the Hubei province will also be subject to quarantine for up to two weeks.

All Chinese travel to the US will be funnelled into seven US airports, where passengers will face additional screening and possible self-quarantine.

The travel restrictions follow suspended flight services from most commercial airlines

US officials airlifted more than 200 US citizens and diplomats with their families from Wuhan to a southern California military air base, where they were subject to health screenings and quarantine.

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