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700 people ‘voluntarily quarantined’ in NY over coronavirus concerns after returning from China

A man held a baby while walking by the entrance of Zekai Tahir Burak Hospital where 17 passengers of a Turkish Airlines flight from Tehran, suspected of having coronavirus, were to be quarantined, in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. All 132 passengers of Tehran-Istanbul flight and crew on board will be quarantined for 14 days at the same hospital where Turkish citizens returning from China had been quarantined. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici/TNS)
February 26, 2020

At least 700 people in New York are in voluntary quarantine after returning from China amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak since February 3.

None of the 700 travelers displayed symptoms of coronavirus so far and were determined to be of “medium risk” for the virus, but they are undergoing 14-day voluntary isolation and some are monitored by health officials, New York State Health Department spokesperson Jill Montag told The Independent.

“Voluntary self-isolation will help limit the potential spread of this virus,” Montag said.

Thousands of Americans have similarly quarantined themselves on a voluntary basis.

Last week, NBC News reported that 5,400 residents in California were self-quarantined, along with 745 in Washington, 300 in Michigan, 138 in Virginia, 27 in Iowa, 10 in North Dakota, and more.

Alabama, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Texas would not provide specific numbers of residents being monitored for the virus.

Although no cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the state of New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo appropriated $40 million on Wednesday for the state to “hire additional staff, procure equipment and any other resources necessary to respond to the potential novel coronavirus pandemic.”

“While there are still no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in New York, these aggressive actions including $40 million in emergency funding will help ensure our healthcare system is equipped with the necessary staff, supplies and equipment needed to respond to any emergency situation that may arise in the future,” Cuomo said.

The CDC has tested samples from 27 New York residents, of which 26 received negative results for the coronavirus. One test is still pending.

The governor also plans to propose a bill to authorize the state’s Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to issue directives for health departments and hospitals to follow in planning and responding to a coronavirus outbreak.

On Tuesday, the CDC warned the American people that a coronavirus outbreak in America is inevitable.

“It’s not so much of a question of if this will happen in this country anymore but a question of when this will happen,” CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Director Dr. Nancy Messonnier said. “Ultimately, we expect we will see community spread in this country.”

“We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad,” Messonnier added.

There are now 53 confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States. Of those cases, 36 involved individuals who were repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan, and another three were repatriated from China. Nineteen cases were originally confirmed in the U.S.

More than 80,000 people have been infected with coronavirus worldwide, and more than 2,600 people have died.

Department of Human Health and Services Secretary Alex M. Azar described the outbreak as “an unprecedented, potentially severe health challenge globally.”

“We cannot hermetically seal off the United States to a virus,” Azar added. “And we need to be realistic about that.”

The Trump administration has made an emergency $2.5 billion request to Congress for funds that will be used to prepare hospitals for a significant coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., as well as escalating vaccine development.