President Donald Trump on Thursday, Feb. 6 spoke with Chinese leader Xi Jinping about the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 600 people mostly in mainland China and spread to two dozen countries.
“President Trump expressed confidence in China’s strength and resilience in confronting the challenge of the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak,” a White House spokesman said in a statement, reported the Hill. “The two leaders agreed to continue extensive communication and cooperation between both sides.”
As of Thursday, the number of people infected globally has risen to more than 31,000. There are 12 confirmed cases in the United States, with officials in Wisconsin confirming the state’s first case.
All but two of the deaths occurred in mainland China, including a doctor who was reprimanded by authorities in the communist country for sounding an early warning about the disease threat.
In response to the deadly outbreak, the Trump administration last month formed a coronavirus task force to monitor and contain the disease. A meeting at the White House was slated for the president and the group of top health officials on Thursday but it was closed to the press.
On the same day, several more U.S. government-chartered evacuation flights were expected to depart Wuhan, China, a day after two planes arrived in California with 350 people on board. The 300 additional evacuees are scheduled to arrive in San Diego and Omaha on Friday. All evacuees will spend up to two weeks under quarantine while they’re monitored for symptoms of the virus.
In support of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Department of Defense is prepared to receive two Department of State chartered evacuation flights from Wuhan, China currently scheduled to arrive on February 7th.
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— U.S. Northern Command (@USNorthernCmd) February 7, 2020
A fifth evacuee from Wuhan was transported to the hospital after developing a fever, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday night. The evacuee had been quarantined at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in Southern California.
In China, local governments across the country have locked down cities of tens of millions of people.
The World Health Organization said Thursday it was too early to declare a peak in the spread of the coronavirus.