San Francisco Tuesday declared a “state of emergency” over the coronavirus — despite not having any confirmed cases in the city.
Mayor London Breed said the declaration would help the city speed up emergency planning should the virus touch down in the bay area.
“Although there are still zero confirmed cases in San Francisco residents, the global picture is changing rapidly, and we need to step-up preparedness,” Breed said in a statement.
“We see the virus spreading in new parts of the world every day, and we are taking the necessary steps to protect San Franciscans from harm.”
So far 53 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the United States, including 10 in California.
Three of the state’s patients have been treated in San Francisco hospitals, although they were not residents of the city, according to Breed’s office.
Health officials in the city said the declaration allows the county to staff more clinicians, nurses and case managers on call 24-hours a day.
“Given the high volume of travel between San Francisco and mainland China, there is a growing likelihood that we will see cases of COVID-19 eventually,” said Dr. Tomas Aragon, San Francisco’s Health Officer.
The announcement came amid growing fears of a global coronavirus pandemic. US stocks continued a massive sell-off Tuesday amid the anxiety over the increasing presence of the virus outside of China.
There have been more than 80,990 cases have reported across the globe — including 2,930 outside of mainland China — along with 2,760 deaths worldwide, according to public health data.
As case tallies have risen in Italy, Iran and South Korea, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday released a statement warning Americans that the coronavirus poses a very real threat that could disrupt everyday life.
Meanwhile, officials announced Tuesday that a 23-year-old American soldier stationed in South Korea has tested positive for the coronavirus, marking the first US service member to be infected.