US President Donald Trump has announced the formation of a Task Force to lead the government's response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, which has so far killed 213 people in China, and with keeping him apprised of developments, a White House statement said.
The statement issued on Wednesday said the Task Force was being led by Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, and coordinated through the National Security Council.
"It is composed of subject matter experts from the White House and several US government agencies, and it includes some of the nation's foremost experts on infectious diseases," the statement said.
The Task Force will lead the Trump's administration's "efforts to monitor, contain, and mitigate the spread of the virus, while ensuring that the American people have the most accurate and up-to-date health and travel information".
"The risk of infection for Americans remains low, and all agencies were working aggressively to monitor this continuously evolving situation and to keep the public informed," the White House statement added.
On Thursday, the US government raised its China travel alert to the maximum "Level 4: Do Not Travel", a category reserved for the situations it considers most dangerous, such as major crises or armed conflicts, reports Efe news.
The US, which already has five confirmed cases, also announced the first instance in the country of a person-to-person transmission of the coronavirus, hence raising the total number of patients to six.
As of Friday morning, China's National Health Commission confirmed 213 deaths in China due to the coronavirus, with a total of 9,692 infected persons.
Outside of China, Macau, Hong Kong and Taiwan, other countries with confirmed cases include Thailand, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, South Korea, the US, France, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Italy, Vietnam, Cambodia, Finland, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Philippines.