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The White House has requested $1.25 billion in emergency funding to address coronavirus, as well as the ability to tap an additional $535 million in emergency funds already appropriated.
This letter, obtained by CNN, was sent to the Hill just a short time ago.
The Trump administration expects “to allocate at least $2.5 billion in total resources” for the response effort. Much of that would come from shifting already appropriated money from agency accounts.
The US Food and Drug Administration is currently not able to conduct routine inspections on drugs, medical supplies or household goods from China due the US State Department’s travel advisory for China over the coronavirus outbreak, the agency said in a statement.
Inspections are just one tool the FDA uses to make sure products are safe, and the lack of inspections is “not hindering our efforts to monitor medical products and food safety,” officials said. The agency monitors products through import screening, sampling and import alerts and it works with US Customs and Border Protection to look for products that violate legal requirements. Some 60% of FDA-regulated products imported from China are medical devices, the agency said, and 20% are housewares, such as food packaging.
In response to the outbreak, the FDA said it will also use, where appropriate, the agency’s authority to request records from firms “in advance or in lieu of” drug surveillance inspections in China. Paper records will help prioritize what inspections should happen first during what could become a back log in on-the-ground inspections, depending on how long the travel restrictions continue, the agency said.
The FDA reiterated that there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted through imported goods, but added that this is a “dynamic” situation and the agency will continue to assess it and update guidance as needed.
The FDA promised it is working around the clock to monitor and mitigate any coronavirus-related issues in a collaborative effort with other agencies.
The United States and South Korea are considering scaling back joint military exercises due to the coronavirus outbreak in the Korean peninsula.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said military commanders in Korea “are looking at scaling back the command post training due to concerns about the coronavirus.”
Esper said he is confident the US and South Korea will “remain fully ready to deal with any threats that we might face together.”
Hong Kong and Taiwan reported new cases of novel coronavirus on Monday.
Hong Kong reported two new cases of novel coronavirus from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, bringing the total to 81 in the city, the Department of Health said in a statement late Monday.
Meanwhile in Taiwan, officials confirmed two new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the island's total to 30, the Central Epidemic Command Center announced at a news conference Monday.
Here's what we know about the cases:
- Hong Kong: The two cases involve a man and a woman, both 57, who recently returned from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
- Taiwan: The cases involve a man in his 40s and a woman in her 70s. They are both relatives of patients who contracted the virus. The man in his 40s also had a prior travel history to Guangzhou, China, in late January.
Officials in San Antonio, Texas, are reporting they have six patients with confirmed cases of novel coronavirus.
One of the patients is from the group of Wuhan evacuees and five patients are from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The patients with the coronavirus are in isolation at the Texas Center for Infectious Disease.
“The quarantine has been managed with great care by experts of highly trained professionals,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg at a news conference Monday. “We have had a total of six positive cases to date and every precaution has been taken to keep them properly isolated, ensuring that the chances of exposure for others is extremely low.”
Nirenberg said he was proud that San Antonio stepped up to help the nation during this “challenge.”
“[L]et’s be clear, the most dangerous, damaging infectious disease is hysteria and so what we’re trying to do is make sure we have a compassionate human response to a crisis that’s happening,” the mayor said.
Dr. Nancy Knight, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's division of global health protection, said lab results are still pending.
“Given the high risk environment that the Diamond Princess cruise ship passengers came from, I would not be surprised if we have additional cases,” Knight said.
A man who tested positive for the novel coronavirus and was evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship is being transferred to the University of Nebraska Medical Center from Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, according to a hospital statement.
“This individual is the spouse of one of the 13 people who arrived in Omaha for monitoring and treatment February 17. This person will be taken directly to the National Quarantine Unit on the UNMC/Nebraska Medical Center campus,” the statement said.
The hospital is monitoring 14 people, of which 12 have tested positive for coronavirus.
President Trump tweeted from India about coronavirus saying that it’s “very much under control in the USA.”
Trump also tweeted that the “stock market starting to look very good to me” linking the two — despite the Dow closing more than 1,000 points down Monday.
This is Trump’s second tweet in the early morning hours in India.
The US stock market dropped heavily today after the number of coronavirus cases surged in Italy and South Korea, putting two more major economies at risk from a virus that has already caused widespread disruption in China.
The Dow Jones index finished down more than 1,000 points at the closing bell on Monday.
The Dow finished down 1,032 points, or 3.6%, its worst day since February 2018. It was only the third time in history that the index closed down by more than 1,000 points. The index is now in the red for the year and at its lowest point total since December 11. The S&P 500 closed 3.4% lower. It was its worst one-day percentage loss since February 2018.
The Nasdaq Composite fell 3.7%, its worst performance since December 2018.