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Experts Say Window Is Closing on Containing Coronavirus

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With new cases of the coronavirus having spread to other parts of Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe, there are growing concerns that time is running out on containing the virus.

Although the number of cases elsewhere in the world pales in comparison to the number in China, where the virus originated in Wuhan Province, fears are that health officials need to get a handle on the renamed covid-19 virus more sooner than later.

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“The window of opportunity is narrowing,” World Health Organization (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday. “We must not look back and regret that we failed to take advantage of the window of opportunity we have.”

More than 75,000 cases, and more than 2,200 deaths, have been reported in China. Exclusive of China, more than 1,200 cases of covid-19 have been reported in 26 other countries, along with 17 deaths—including one in Egypt and five in Iran.

Officials are concerned that countries with less sophisticated healthcare systems are more prone to spreading the virus and spreading it quickly—especially through travel.

Covid-19 has disrupted travel for the better part of a month, with airlines and cruise lines alike canceling flights and sailing itineraries to Asia.

While the number of cases in China are decreasing, health officials are keeping an eye on cases reported that have ‘no clear link.’ That is, those affected with the virus are not from China nor have they traveled to China.

Canada’s chief public health officer, Theresa Tam, said she is concerned about the cases emanating in Iran.

“Any important cases linked to Iran could be an indicator that there is more widespread transmission than we know about,” Tam said.

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CDC Issues Travel Advisory for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut

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After a tumultuous 48 hours, in which the state of Rhode Island threatened to stop any car with New York license plates and President Trump considered quarantining New Yorkers, the Centers for Disease Control issued a travel advisory urging residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to avoid out-of-state travel for 14 days due to the spread of coronavirus.

The CDC advisory issued Saturday night urged those living in the tri-state area to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days effective immediately.

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That excludes employees of critical infrastructure industries as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, according to Forbes, which includes “employees of critical infrastructure industries, including but not limited to trucking, public health professionals, financial services, and food supply.”

The CDC said the governors of the three states will have full discretion to implement this Domestic Travel Advisory.

New York, and particularly New York City with its close proximity to New Jersey and Connecticut, has become the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, with 52,000 positives cases and more than 520 deaths alone.

The CDC decision capped an extraordinary couple of days that started when Rhode Island Gov. Raimondo ordered the National Guard and police to check drivers with New York license plates in the tiny state to see if they were new arrivals and needed to self-quarantine.

That – coming on the heels of Florida, Maryland, South Carolina and Texas ordering people from the tri-state area to self-quarantine for 14 days – included sending officials door-to-door to vacation homes in popular Rhode Island beachfront towns.

“I think that’s a reactionary policy and I don’t think that’s legal,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on CNN. “And we’re talking to Rhode Island now. If they don’t roll back that policy, I’m going to sue Rhode Island, because that clearly is unconstitutional.”

President Trump, talking briefly with reporters on the White House lawn before departing for Norfolk, Va., said that “Some people would like to see New York quarantined because it’s a hot spot. I’m thinking about that right now.”

Instead, the president instructed the CDC to issue its warning late Saturday night.

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