- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 15, 2020

The world is paying close attention to the coronavirus epidemic in China, and not without jitters. A new Ipsos poll of 8,000 people in eight major nations finds that 86% of the global respondents are very well informed about the outbreak.

Close to 9-out-of-10 say the coronavirus poses a threat to the world. Across the board, 54% say the virus poses “a high or very high threat to the world” while a third deem it a moderate threat and 12% say the virus is of a lower threat.

Japan appears to be the most unnerved by the ongoing health challenge, with 66% of the population declaring the situation to be a high or very high threat. Australia is second on the nervousness scale with 61% , followed by the U.S. (55%), Germany (47%) Britain (43%) and Canada and Russia — both 42%. Only 19% feel the virus has been contained and “will soon be over.”

On average, four in five (85%) people support mandatory screening of those traveling from infected countries, and a mandatory quarantine of those who could have the infection.

“This data shows that most people are closely tracking the coronavirus outbreak and are also worried the health epidemic will continue to worsen before it gets better” Ipsos said in its analysis of the findings.

While civilians around the world anxiously weigh news updates on disease’s progress, the U.S. military is mapping out its coronavirus containment plan in the event the largely East Asian epidemic becomes a global outbreak.

The Pentagon’s U.S. Northern Command revealed this week that it is preparing for a “potential pandemic” of the coronavirus, with some clear reassurance for Americans.

“In no way does the planning indicate a greater likelihood of an event developing. As military professionals, planning for a range of contingencies is something we owe the American people,” Navy Lt. Commander Mike Hatfield told The Military Times. “The military profession fosters a culture of planning.”

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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