Washington, 28 January 2020 (dpa/MIA) – US Health Secretary Alex Azar urged China on Tuesday to be open and transparent about the new coronavirus that has hit the country, while also saying travel restrictions must remain an option on the table.
Azar said the United States was offering Beijing assistance. “We are urging China: More cooperation and transparency are the most important steps you can take to a more effective response,” Azar said at a press conference in Washington.
The US is already recommending that travellers avoid visiting China and is warning people at home to remain vigilant.
“Right now there is no spread of this virus in our communities at home,” Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control, said at the briefing, adding that in the US the health risk is right now “low.”
The spread and nature of the virus “skew to the severe,” Azar said, but cautioned that early cases tend to be more serious. He noted that China is already noting asymptomatic transmission, meaning people not experiencing illness can spread the disease.
He noted there are no new cases in the US. So far, five instances have been identified in the US.
US officials also said they are preparing for the need for a vaccine.