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US House panel holds hearing on the coronavirus outbreak

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The U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs is holding a hearing Wednesday on the outbreak of the new coronavirus, which has now infected more than 24,300 people in over two dozen countries and killed at least 490 people, mostly in China.

Witnesses include senior scholar at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Security Jennifer Nuzzo, senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation Jennifer Bouey and former White House Ebola response coordinator Ron Klain.

Congressman Ami Bera, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation, announced the hearing last week.

“While the threat of the coronavirus is relatively low in the United States at this time, we must be vigilant and prepared,” Bera, D-CA, said in a statement. “I look forward to hearing from our expert witnesses on ways in which we can plan and respond to this virus. Congress needs to ensure the administration has the tools it needs to respond to and limit the outbreak.”

The U.S. government has implemented travel restrictions and issued federal quarantine orders in response to the outbreak for the first time in about 50 years, health officials said last week. Flights from mainland China are being funneled through 11 U.S. airports, officials said, where all passengers are being screened for symptoms. Travelers from Hubei province are being quarantined for 14 days.

[To see the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit CNBC’s live updates here.]



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