Trump says US has coronavirus ‘completely under control’ as Washington state confirms first case outside of Asia

Chris Riotta
Donald Trump in Davos, Switzerland, as his impeachment trial gets underway in the US Senate: AP

Donald Trump said the US has a plan to handle the outbreak of a deadly new virus from China after the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed the first case in the country earlier this week.

“We have it totally under control,” the president said on Wednesday. “It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control.”

Speaking on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Mr Trump sought to mitigate anxieties about the Wuhan coronavirus after it killed nine people and sickened hundreds of others across China, Thailand, South Korea and Japan.

“It’s going to be fine”, he told CNBC.

The president said he was “not at all” concerned about a potential pandemic after the CDC activated its emergency response system in response to the virus and confirmed the US patient, who has not been identified, was isolated in hospital at Washington state.

“We do have a plan, and we think it’s going to be handled very well,” Mr Trump continued, saying that he trusted Chinese President Xi Jinping and the information coming from Beijing. “I think China’s in very good shape also.”

His comments came as the CDC launched additional health screenings at airports across the country for any passengers arriving from Wuhan, China, capital of Hubei province located nearly 700 miles south of Beijing.

The centre also urged travellers to “practice enhanced precautions” by raising the travel notice for Wuhan to level two on its website.

Officials said the virus, which can reportedly spread from animals to humans, began at an animal market in Wuhan and can cause respiratory illness and other more potentially deadly side effects in patients.

Still, Washington state’s secretary of health John Wiesman said there was currently a “low” risk of the outbreak spreading in America after the US patient was isolated at Providence Regional Medical Centre.

Dr Martin Cetron, the CDC’s director of global migration and quarantine, told CNN: “This isn’t anywhere near in the same category as measles or the flu.”

Mr Trump also touted his relationship with the Chinese president while discussing the outbreak, telling CNBC “I have a great relationship with President Xi”.

The US patient, who is reportedly in his 30s and from Snohomish County, Washington, fell ill after returning from Wuhan last week, and sought treatment four days after his travels.

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