HHS Declares Novel Coronavirus a Public Health Emergency

Handwashing frequently is one major way to reduce the spread of disease. Courtesy photo

Published February 1, 2020

WASHINGTON — Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar on Friday afternoon declared the novel coronavirus a public health emergency and ordered all U.S. citizens returning from the center of the outbreak in China to be quarantined for two weeks.

Earlier Friday, HHS issued a quarantine order for 195 people who flew to California from Wuhan, the center of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, in China. They are being quarantined on an air force base in California.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency and offered the following tips:

  •   Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
  •   When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;
  •   Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;
  •   If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider;
  •   When visiting live markets in areas currently experiencing cases of novel coronavirus, avoid direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces in contact with animals;
  •   The consumption of raw or undercooked animal products should be avoided. Raw meat, milk or animal organs should be handled with care, to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods, as per good food safety practices.

Native News Online reached out to Indian Health Service to find out what this outbreak means to Indian Country but did not hear back by press time.

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