First case in the Northeast

It was only a matter of time:

Health officials in Massachusetts confirmed the first case of coronavirus in the state after a man returning from Wuhan, China, tested positive for the virus.

The man is in his 20s and lives in Boston, the state’s Department of Health said in a press release on Saturday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified health officials about the case late Friday evening, the release stated, adding that the risk to the public is low.

This is the eighth confirmed case of coronavirus in the United States. The other cases are two in Illinois, three in California, and one each in Washington state and Arizona.

And a possible case in the Big Apple:

On Saturday, the New York City Department of Health announced that a person in the city has been identified for testing. Health officials said the person, who is under 40 years old, had recently traveled from China and “presented with fever and cough or shortness of breath without another common cause.” Testing to determine whether the person has the first confirmed case of coronavirus in New York will take 36 to 48 hours.

The China travel ban comes not a moment too soon. Hopefully it’s not too late.

China’s global connectivity has become a casualty:

On Saturday, Australia followed the US by imposing a ban on entry to most travellers from China. Canberra said citizens, residents or relatives would still be allowed in. Countries including Uzbekistan and Vietnam cancelled flights from China altogether.

Dozens of commercial carriers have cut back or halted flights to China, and several hotel chains have said they will allow cancellations by Chinese travellers. Major companies such as Google and Facebook have banned travel to the country, while international retailers such as Starbucks and Apple have shut stores.

In Hong Kong, where there are strong memories of the impact of the 2003 Sars outbreak, thousands of hospital staff went on strike, demanding that authorities close the border. (…)

Cases of human-to-human transmission, which has driven the fast rise in infections inside China, have been detected in Germany, Thailand, Taiwan, France, Japan and the US.

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