Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Wednesday that officials are investigating a potential case of coronavirus—the mysterious illness that has killed more than a dozen people in China—in the northern state of Tamaulipas, which is located along the U.S.-Mexico border near Texas.
“There is already identification of two cases, one already ruled out and one in Tamaulipas that is under observation,” he said in a press conference, according to El Universal.
He called on Mexican medical agencies in Mexico to be on high alert over possible coronavirus cases, including individuals showing signs of fever, respiratory issues, or having traveled to China.
“The coronavirus is being looked into. If we have more information we will release it later today,” he said, reported Bloomberg News.
Tamaulipas State Health Minister Gloria Molina said that the sickened man reported his situation to officials after feeling sick, according to Bloomberg News. He had traveled to Wuhan, China, in December and is now at home under supervision, she said.
Molina said the man had layovers in Tijuana, located on the U.S.-Mexico border, Bloomberg reported.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to announce on Wednesday whether the outbreak is a global public health emergency.
On Wednesday, Chinese officials said the deaths have risen to 17 and the virus has spread from Wuhan around China to places including Beijing, Shanghai, Macau, and Hong Kong, Reuters reported. Hundreds of people have been infected.
The virus has also been identified in Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.
President Donald Trump said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a plan to contain the virus.
“We do have a plan and we think it is going to be handled very well. We’ve already handled it very well,” he told reporters in Davos, Switzerland. “The CDC is terrific. Very professional.”
It came after the CDC confirmed on Tuesday there was one confirmed case of coronavirus in Seattle, Washington.
“Based on the patient’s travel history and symptoms, healthcare professionals suspected this new coronavirus. A clinical specimen was collected and sent to CDC overnight, where laboratory testing yesterday confirmed the diagnosis,” the CDC said in a press release. “(The patient) is in good condition and is hospitalized out of an abundance of precaution and for short-term monitoring, not because there was severe illness,” Washington state health officials also said.
The Chinese city of Wuhan, meanwhile, will be quarantined by officials starting on Jan. 23. That means public transportation will be suspended.
“Unless there is a special reason, citizens should not leave Wuhan city,” the Wuhan Municipal City Government said in a statement, according to state-backed media. “Airports and train stations that can be used to leave the city will be temporarily closed. The closures will continue until further announcement.”