- The Washington Times - Friday, January 24, 2020

Senators on Friday received the first briefing to lawmakers on coronavirus outbreak that originated in China and which has resulted in two confirmed cases on U.S. soil thus far.

Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee were jointly briefed with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee by U.S. officials.

In a statement following the briefing, leading senators on both committees said the Chinese government “has taken steps to share information with international health experts, and we encourage their cooperation and transparency as this situation unfolds.”

Amid the briefing, U.S. health officials confirmed that a second person in the U.S. has been infected with the deadly virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been investigating 63 suspected cases of the coronavirus in 22 states. Of those 63, two tested positive and 11 tested negative.

More than 800 people have been sickened by the disease and 26 have been killed as Chinese authorities scramble to shut down more cities to contain the illness.

The senators said they are “monitoring the outbreak” and are “in close communication with United States government agencies on actions and precautions needed to prevent further spread of this virus.”

“The safety of U.S. citizens here domestically, as well as in China and other affected countries, is our first priority,” they said.

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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