- The Washington Times - Friday, February 7, 2020

The U.S. government is ready to spend up to $100 million in existing funds to facilitate the fight against the new virus from China, the State Department said Friday.

Officials said the money will assist people at the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in China, where over 600 have died, and other countries that have seen cases. The money will also support the World Health Organization, the public arm of the U.N., which is spearheading the response and has pleaded for donations from wealthier nations.

“This commitment — along with the hundreds of millions generously donated by the American private sector — demonstrates strong U.S. leadership in response to the outbreak,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Already, the State Department shipped 17.8 tons of supplies to China, masks, gowns, gauze, respirators and other gear.

The virus traced to a live-animal market in Wuhan, China, has caused global alarm in recent weeks.

There have been 31,481 confirmed cases of coronavirus, globally, although only 12 so far in the U.S.

Trump administration officials said they wouldn’t be surprised to see more domestic cases, though the outlook remains positive.

“The immediate risk to the American public is low at this time,” said Health Secretary Alex Azar, who leads President Trump’s task force on the coronavirus response.

Mr. Azar said the U.S. has submitted the names of U.S. experts who are willing to help Chinese President Xi Jinping with the fight against coronavirus in his country. They’re waiting for a response.

Officials said the U.S. government has evacuated roughly 800 Americans from Wuhan.

They arrived on five flights — one on Jan. 29, two Wednesday and two more Thursday. The passengers will be in quarantine at various U.S. military bases for 14 days.

Anthony Fauci, director of infectious-disease research at the National Institutes of Health, said scientists are running trials of various treatments in China to see if any drugs are effective in stemming the outbreak.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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