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Trump says Pence to be in charge of coronavirus response

  • Published at 08:52 am February 27th, 2020
Mike Pence
File Photo: US Vice President Mike Pence speaks at a joint press conference at the Istana or Presidential Palace in Singapore, November 16, 2018 Reuters

Trump also said the United States would spend “whatever is appropriate” to combat the disease

US President Donald Trump said Vice President Mike Pence will be in charge of the US response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump said on Wednesday the risk to the American people from the virus “remains very low.”

“We’re ready to adapt and we’re ready to do whatever we have to as the disease spreads, if it spreads,” he told a news conference, reported Reuters.

Trump also said the United States would spend “whatever is appropriate” to combat the disease.

However, his optimism about containing the pathogen contradicted a senior health official in his own administration and came as authorities said they had identified the first case in the US that was of unknown origin, reports AFP.

"I don't think it's inevitable. I think that there's a chance that it could get worse, a chance it could get fairly substantially worse, but nothing's inevitable," Trump told reporters at the White House.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans Tuesday to be prepared to cancel mass gatherings and urged schools and businesses to develop teleworking plans, amid dire warnings that countries are not ready to contain an outbreak that has infected 80,000 people, mostly in China.

As of Wednesday, there were 60 cases in the United States -- 15 detected through the public health system, and 45 repatriated from abroad, either from a cruise ship off Japan or from Wuhan, the Chinese city where the first cases were identified.