Inslee declares emergency in Washington state after first US coronavirus death
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) declared a state of emergency in the state Saturday just hours after he announced the first death in the United States from the coronavirus.
The declaration directs state agencies to use all resources necessary to prepare for and respond to an outbreak and allows the use of the Washington National Guard if necessary.
“This will allow us to get the resources we need,” Inslee said in a statement. “This is a time to take common-sense, proactive measures to ensure the health and safety of those who live in Washington state.”
“Washingtonians can be assured we’ve taken this threat seriously and have been working in collaboration with our health care partners to develop plans and procedures to prepare for what could likely be a world-wide pandemic,” he added. “Our priority now is to slow the spread of this virus.”
The declaration came shortly after Inslee announced the death of a Washington state man from the virus, which marked the first fatality in the U.S. from the illness.
Officials have so far announced four cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. with unknown origins, meaning it is possible the virus is spreading among the general public in some areas. That includes two cases in California, one in Oregon and one in Washington state.
President Trump announced further restrictions on travel from Iran and advised American citizens not to travel to specific regions in Italy and South Korea in response to the coronavirus. The administration also authorized a ban on foreign nationals who have traveled to Iran in the last 14 days.
“Additional cases in the United States are likely, but healthy individuals should be able to fully recover,” Trump said at a press conference. “If you’re healthy, you will probably go through a process and you’ll be fine.”
Trump also said he was considering closing the southern border.