(THE HILL) – San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) declared a state of emergency for the city on Tuesday amid concerns over the international coronavirus outbreak.
While no coronavirus cases have been confirmed in San Francisco, “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,” she added.
The new state of emergency will allow city officials to assemble resources and personnel to expedite emergency planning measures and boost the ability to deploy a rapid response to a potential coronavirus case in the city.
The move follows a similar declaration from Santa Clara County earlier this month. The declaration is effective immediately for seven days and will be voted on by the board of supervisors on March 3.
The statement from Breed comes amid stark warnings from U.S. health officials over the chances of an outbreak of the virus in the U.S.
“As more and more countries experience community spread, successful containment at our borders becomes harder and harder,” Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Tuesday.
“It’s not a question of if this will happen but when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illnesses,” she added. “Disruption to everyday life might be severe.”
More than 77,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in China, where the virus was first detected, but more than 2,000 cases have been identified in other countries. Fifty-seven cases have been confirmed in the U.S., including 40 people who had been repatriated to the country from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Some lawmakers have expressed skepticism that the administration is taking bold enough action to curb the risk of the virus spreading in the U.S., with some saying the $2.5 billion it requested in in emergency coronavirus funding was insufficient.
“It seems to me at the outset that this request for the money, the supplemental, is lowballing it, possibly, and you can’t afford to do that,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar during a hearing on the agency’s budget request.