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Fla. Sen. Scott, Leery of China's Virus Response, Wants WH Emergency Declaration

Fla. Sen. Scott, Leery of China's Virus Response, Wants WH Emergency Declaration
A Chinese woman leaves a Beijing railway station on Thursday. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
 

By    |   Friday, 24 January 2020 04:14 PM EST

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., on Friday said he doesn’t “trust Communist China” to work with other countries in fighting the coronavirus spreading from Wuhan “in a transparent and efficient manner,” The Hill reports.

Scott, who sits on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement that the U.S. must “get serious about the threat of coronavirus coming from China,” adding that he doesn’t “trust Communist China to coordinate in a transparent and efficient manner when it comes to combatting the threat of the virus, so we have to do everything we can to protect Americans.”

The senator said, “While all of the cases are still travel-related, we must take every precaution.”

According to The Hill, he wants the Trump administration to declare the coronavirus outbreak, with its two confirmed cases in the U.S. so far, a public health emergency. This, though the World Health Organization said earlier this week that the virus, an emergency for China, had not yet risen to the level of a global crisis.

He did not specify what further steps he wanted the White House to take. The Hill said an emergency declaration could loosen up regulations and funding to help combat the disease.

Scott’s comments came after top health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) briefed senators Friday on efforts to try to stop the virus from getting more of a foothold here in the States.

Two confirmed cases of coronavirus have been detected in the U.S., with possible cases in Texas, Illinois and Washington that have yet to be confirmed. All of these cases are from people who have recently traveled from China. 

As for the agencies' briefing on Friday, “there was some skepticism because in the past it wasn’t — in some cases they didn’t want the bad publicity and they didn’t move as quickly as they should,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

But The Hill reported that most senators leaving the briefing said they felt satisfied that administration officials were taking appropriate steps to deal with the health peril. Among other things, the U.S. has begun screenings for fever and other symptoms at five major U.S. airports. The State Department and the CDC have also issued a travel advisory, telling U.S. citizens not to take unnecessary trips to the affected areas in China, where there have been at least 26 confirmed deaths and hundreds of confirmed illnesses since the outbreak began last month in the city of Wuhan.

Anthony Fauci, the head of the NIH infectious disease unit, said he’s been “impressed” with China’s efforts to cooperate.

“I was involved very deeply with the SARS response. And with SARS, the Chinese were not particularly transparent …  It was an embarrassment for them. I think they regretted that. Right now, from what I can see, they're being quite transparent,” Fauci said.

Scientists have identified the illness as a new kind of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some of which cause the common cold. Others have evolved into more severe illnesses, such as SARS and MERS, although so far the new virus does not appear to be as deadly or contagious.

In response to the outbreak, Wuhan halted all outbound flights, trains, buses and ferries, and 12 other Chinese cities in the central province of Hubei have followed suit, with a combined population of more than 36 million now under lockdown.

Additionally, Wuhan is swiftly building a 1,000-bed hospital dedicated to the disease.

Though instances of the virus have been confirmed in several other nations -- The Associated Press said these includee the U.S., Thailand, Japan and South Korea -- all the deaths so far have been in China.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Theodore Bunker

Theodore Bunker, a Newsmax writer, has more than a decade covering news, media, and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


Newsfront
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., on Friday said he doesn't "trust Communist China" to work with other countries in fighting the coronavirus spreading from Wuhan "in a transparent and efficient manner," The Hill reports. Scott, who sits on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said...
rickscott, coronavirus, china, disease
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2020-14-24
Friday, 24 January 2020 04:14 PM
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