The death toll in the United States from the novel coronavirus rose to 11 on Wednesday, as lawmakers in Congress agreed to provide more than US$8 billion to fight the rapidly spreading disease.
California Governor Gavin Newsom declared an emergency as he reported the state's first fatality from the COVID-19 illness - an elderly person who had taken a cruise to Mexico - while health officials in nearby Washington state said a 10th person had died there.
The State of California is deploying every level of government to help identify cases and slow the spread of this coronavirus, Newsom told reporters. This emergency proclamation will help the state further prepare our communities and our health care system in the event it spreads more broadly.
Earlier in the day, Los Angeles County officials reported six new cases in the West Coast metropolis, while the number of confirmed cases in New York state rose to 11.
One of the Los Angeles cases concerns a medical screener at the city's international airport checking overseas travelers for symptoms. The Department of Homeland Security said the worker was under self-quarantine at home along with family members and was showing mild symptoms.
That person's last shift at the airport was on Feb 21 and the symptoms began on Feb 29, a statement said.
Across the US, more than 130 people have so far been infected, with the virus detected in more than a dozen states. Most of the deaths have so far been in Washington state, with most of the victims residents of a nursing home.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi meanwhile said Republicans and Democrats had reached a deal to fund the response to the outbreak to the tune of US$ 8.3 billion. The House of Representatives passed the measure, and the Senate was to vote on Thursday.
Vice President Mike Pence, who is the White House's point-man on the crisis, told reporters he would be travelling to Minnesota on Thursday to visit a 3M plant manufacturing personal protective equipment like masks.
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