HealthDay News — Chinese officials extended the New Lunar Year holiday on Sunday, as the number of cases of a new coronavirus climbed past 2,700 and the death toll reached 81. The Lunar New Year is China’s busiest travel season and officials there said the end of the holiday was pushed back to “reduce mass gatherings” and “block the spread of the epidemic,” the Associated Press reported.
In the United States, two new cases of the coronavirus were confirmed in Arizona and California over the weekend, bringing the total number of cases in the United States to five, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Sunday. The two new cases involve people who recently returned to the United States from Wuhan. It is likely that more cases will be reported in the United States in the coming days and weeks, and that these cases are likely to include person-to-person transmission of the virus, the CDC noted.
“This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we are still in the early days of the investigation — both domestically and abroad. CDC continues to monitor the international situation with our teams on the ground in affected countries, as well as domestically in the four states with confirmed cases — Arizona, California, Illinois, and Washington,” the CDC said in a news release. The agency added that it is following “an aggressive public health response strategy and working closely with state and local public health authorities to identify potential cases early and make sure patients get the best and most appropriate care.”
Americans should avoid all nonessential travel to the Hubei Province in China, and take certain precautions — such as avoiding contact with people who are sick and practicing good hand hygiene — if traveling to other areas of China, the CDC advised. For the general public in the United States, no additional precautions are currently recommended.