College student quarantined in Texas with suspected coronavirus case

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Health authorities in Texas are investigating a suspected coronavirus case in a Texas A&M student, according to the local health department.

The student, who recently traveled to Wuhan, went to an emergency department yesterday with a cough and congestion.

“The patient we’re tracking had very mild symptoms,” Dr. Eric Wilke, of the Brazos County Health Department, said at a Thursday news conference.

The patient is in isolation at home as health care workers are performing tests to determine whether the student contracted the coronavirus. Wilke said the department expects to have results back from the CDC in Atlanta by Monday at the latest.

Should the case be confirmed, health officials will begin contact tracing to determine with which individuals he came in contact and whether to monitor them.

Wilke did not say whether the student lived on campus.

China extended its severe travel ban to additional cities, cutting off travel for 20 million people during a time when millions are expected to be traveling for Chinese New Year.

The quarantine began Thursday in Wuhan, the city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak. Authorities shut down transportation in the 11-million-person city, prohibiting people from using buses, trains or ferries, and canceling flights and trains leaving Wuhan.

Those travel restrictions have been extended to the nearby cities of Huanggang and Ezhou, both in China’s Hubei province.

After two days of deliberation, the World Health Organization decided not to declare the coronavirus outbreak a “public health emergency of international concern” on Thursday.

“Make no mistake. This is still an emergency in China,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general at WHO, said at a news conference after Thursday’s meeting. “It has not yet become a global health emergency. It may yet become one.”

Part of that decision hinged on the fact there’s been no evidence of human-to-human transmission outside of China so far. Additionally, disease transmission appears to be limited to close family groups and health care workers, according to the WHO.

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