California announced a state of emergency on Wednesday after the state reported its first death from a new coronavirus and a cruise ship was shelved off the coast for fear of a new outbreak.
The measures come at a time when the death toll in the United States has reached 11, including the first death in California, and lawmakers have agreed to provide $ 8 billion to fight the rapidly spreading disease.
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced emergency measures as he reported the death of an elderly man who was traveling to Mexico by boat.
“California is deploying governments at all levels to help identify cases and slow the spread of this coronavirus,” Newsom told reporters.
He said the emergency announcement would help the state “prepared for its wider reach.”
Thousands of people traveled on Wednesday night on the Great Princess, the same cruise ship believed to be the first victim in California infected with the virus.
The ship shortened its current voyage from Hawaii after symptoms of passengers and crew. But its plans to return to San Francisco have been shelved to allow onboard testing of potentially infected people.
“We anchored the ship off the coast, and there are thousands of passengers, and we will conduct these tests,” Newsom told a news conference.
Newsom said 11 passengers and 10 crew members may have been infected with the virus.
Princess Cruises said in a statement to AFP that about 62 guests who remained on board during early Mexican voyages were restricted to cabin testing.
It said: “For caution, these guests and other potential crew members are in close contact and are required to remain in their cabins until our airborne medical team conducts an inspection.”
In total, Newsom said there were about 2,500 passengers and crew, and typically as many as 1,150 passengers sailed in Mexico.
The princess is part of Princess Cruises, the ship that was hit by a corona virus that sailed the seas of Japan last month. More than 700 people on the ship tested positive.
Earlier in the day, health officials near Washington state said the tenth person died there.
Los Angeles County officials reported six new cases in the West Coast metropolis, while the number of confirmed cases in New York State rose to 11.
One case in Los Angeles involved a medical inspector at the city’s international airport, examining symptoms of overseas travelers.
The Department of Homeland Security said the worker and family were undergoing self-quarantine at home with mild symptoms.
A statement said: “The Department of Homeland Security is pleased to report that this person is well-trained and that everything is done at work and when he begins to feel unwell.”
“We were told that the individual was wearing all the correct protective equipment and took the necessary protective measures at work.”
More than 130 people have been infected nationwide, and the virus has been found in more than a dozen states.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Republicans and Democrats reached an agreement to provide $ 8.3 billion in funding to respond to the outbreak.
The House passed the measure, and the Senate will vote on Thursday.
Vice President Mike Pence, a key figure in the White House’s response to the crisis, told reporters he will travel to Minnesota on Thursday to visit a factory that manufactures personal protective equipment, including masks.
He will then visit Washington State and meet with Governor Jay Inslee to review containment efforts in the Seattle area.
“Coordinated, well-funded response”
Health officials say all newly infected people in Los Angeles have been exposed to COVID-19 through close contact.
Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said three of the cases were related to travelers traveling to northern Italy together-a viral hotspot that killed more than 100 people.
Two other cases involved individuals who had contact with family members who had been infected with the virus, the last being an airport inspector.
“The steps we are taking today are preparation, not panic,” said mayor Eric Garcetti in an emergency statement.
Officials said they expected the number of people infected in California to increase in the coming days and urged families to prepare for possible school closures and cancellation of public events.