HealthDay News — A $2.5 billion plan to fight the coronavirus outbreak was sent by the White House to Congress on Monday evening, as countries around the world raced to stem outbreaks of “untraceable” cases of the virus.

The money would be used for vaccines, treatment, and protective equipment, the Associated Press reported. While $1.25 billion would be new funding, the request also asks that $535 million be moved over from an Ebola preparedness account. The package was announced as financial markets plunged on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial average dropping 1,000 points as fears of a COVID-19 pandemic began to intensify.

As of Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website was reporting that 53 Americans have now tested positive for coronavirus, a jump up from the 35 reported last week. The new cases were detected in Americans who were evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan early last week. All of those evacuees are under quarantine in the United States.

Clusters of cases arising in South Korea, Italy, and Iran with no clear ties to the outbreak’s epicenter in China have heightened concerns about local, self-sustaining epidemics and a global pandemic. As of Tuesday, there were more than 80,000 cases of COVID-19 and nearly 2,700 deaths globally.

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