SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — With clusters of coronavirus cases showing up around the world outside of China, the World Health Organization has issued an ominous warning about stopping the growing spread of the disease.
The warning came on Friday while there were also several developments involving the disease in Northern California — an epicenter in the United States for treating victims who have contracted coronavirus.
The WHO warned that the clusters not directly linked to travel, such as the ones in South Korea, Italy and Iran, suggest that time may be running out to contain the outbreak.
“The window of opportunity is still there. But our window of opportunity is narrowing,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We need to act quickly before it closes completely.”
“This outbreak could go in any direction. It could even be messy,” he continued. “What I’m saying is: It’s in our hands now. If we do well within the narrowing window of opportunity, we can avert any serious crisis.”
Here are some of the other coronavirus developments from Friday.
- Disease Experts Debunk Theory Coronavirus Was Created In Bio-Weapons Lab:
Many of the world leading experts have taken to media — both social media and traditional media — to debunk a rumor being circulated that the coronavirus is a germ that escaped from a secret Chinese bio-weapons lab. Richard Ebright, a professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University, told the Washington Post that — “based on the virus genome and properties there is no indication whatsoever that it was an engineered virus.”
- Court Battle Over Plan To Move Coronavirus Patients To Southern California: A federal judge on Friday granted a temporary restraining order to block the transfer of as many as 50 confirmed coronavirus patients from Travis Air Force Base to Costa Mesa in Orange County. Federal court papers filed stated that the federal government planned to transfer the patients from Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield to the former Fairview Developmental Center on Sunday or Monday. But the numbers do not add up. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday there were only 31 confirmed cases in the United States and 11 of those were being treated at the University of Nebraska.
- New Confirmed Coronavirus Cases In Humboldt, Sacramento Counties
Humboldt County health officials have announced that they were treating their first confirmed case of coronavirus and a second person was being tested for the illness. Sacramento County health officials also announced their first confirmed case. Officials said the individual returned from China to the United States on Feb. 2, flying into San Francisco International and has since self-quarantined and taken precautionary measures upon their return home. The individual began displaying mild symptoms during the self-quarantine.
- Wuhan Airlift Coronavirus Evacuees Quarantined At Travis Air Force Base Released
All of the 234 people evacuated from China and quarantined at Travis Air Force Base have been released after remaining free of the new coronavirus, according to officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those evacuees were flown from China by the U.S. State Department and arrived at Travis on Feb. 5 and Feb. 7. They were released in two batches – one on Tuesday and one on Thursday—following a mandatory 14-day quarantine period, according to CDC spokesman Scott Pauley.
- California Tells 7,600 People To Self-Quarantine Over Concern Of Coronavirus Spread
People in California who have recently returned from visiting China are being asked to stay home for the rest of the month to help stop the spread of the new coronavirus. The California Department of Public Health said Friday that 7,600 people have been urged to self-quarantine: stay home, monitor their health and limit interaction with other people.
- Coronavirus Turns Redwood City Couple’s Dream Cruise Into Quarantine Chaos
As they sat down to dine on Jan. 27, aboard the Diamond Princess luxury cruise ship bound for Japan, Rick and Kathy Wright of Redwood City had two good reasons for a champagne toast. But the celebration soon ended when the cruise ship was stricken by a coronavirus outbreak.