Trump: Administration communicating with China, 'strongly on watch' over coronavirus

Trump: Administration communicating with China, 'strongly on watch' over coronavirus
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As the number of cases of the pneumonia-like coronavirus from China continue to grow across the globe, President TrumpDonald TrumpFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Missouri Rep. Billy Long enters Senate GOP primary Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election MORE on Monday tweeted that the U.S. is “in very close communication with China concerning the virus.”

“Very few cases reported in USA, but strongly on watch,” he wrote. “We have offered China and President Xi any help that is necessary. Our experts are extraordinary!”

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Trump’s tweet was the second time he has mentioned the coronavirus since Friday, when he praised China’s response to try to contain the outbreak.

Chinese officials have “been working very hard” to contain the virus, he wrote Friday, adding that the United States “greatly appreciates their efforts and transparency. It will all work out well.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Monday said the agency is working closely with China, the World Health Organization and state and local health departments across the country.

"This is a rapidly changing situation, and we are still learning about the virus," Azar said. "While the virus poses a serious public health threat, the immediate risk to Americans is low at this time."

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There are only five confirmed cases in the U.S., but health officials expect there to be more. The number of cases in China, where the outbreak began, has been skyrocketing as the country releases more information. Chinese authorities have reported over 2,800 cases and 81 deaths.

The outbreak originated in the city of Wuhan, and China has placed an unprecedented quarantine around the entire Hubei province, locking down tens of millions of people. 

However, there are growing doubts about just how effective the quarantine will be, especially as nearly 5 million people left the city of Wuhan before the travel restrictions were in place.

The Chinese government has faced growing criticisms over just how transparent it has been in releasing information about the virus to the rest of the world.