Officials scrambled Tuesday to halt the spread of the burgeoning new virus, from northern Italy where troops were dispatched to enforce quarantines and schools were shuttered, to South Korea, where some neighborhoods in a city of 2.5 million were brought to a near standstill.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says Americans should be ready for the coronavirus to spread to communities in the United States, the New York Times reports.
New clusters of the illness popped up far from its apparent origin point in China, fueling apprehension in world financial markets and political institutions.
“We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad,” a CDC official said.
The spread fueled an increased sense of urgency among officials in some of the wealthiest nations in Europe and Asia, as well as in countries like Iran, with far fewer resources to stem the disease. But many remained uncertain about how best to contain it.
“It’s a matter of speed and time: We must create a clear turning point within this week,” said President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, where the caseload grew by 144, with a total of 977 people sickened.