New coronavirus case of unknown origin in California

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks during a tour of the "secretary's operation center" following a coronavirus task force meeting at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, U.S., February 27, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The United States will invoke a federal defence law to boost production of masks, gloves, gowns and other items to protect against the new coronavirus, the Trump administration said, as a new case of unknown origin was confirmed in California on Friday.

The latest U.S. case was reported in Santa Clara county in California, home to the Silicon Valley technology hub. County health officials said it was a case of unknown origin, the second in the state so far out of 10 cases there.

Recreational vehicles (RVs) are seen parked in a earmarked quarantine site for healthy people potentially exposed to novel coronavirus, behind Washington State Public Health Laboratories in Shoreline, north of Seattle, Washington, U.S. February 28, 2020. REUTERS/David Ryder

Around the world, more countries are reporting new infections, companies have curtailed travel and global stock markets continued to tumble.

The United States will make a decision “very soon” about whether to bar entry to travellers from the countries with the most cases of the new coronavirus, President Donald Trump said at the White House on Friday as his administration came under fire from political opponents for its response to the outbreak.

At a rally in South Carolina on Friday night, Trump defended his administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and accused Democrats of politicizing the disease.

The U.S. State Department has issued travel advisories for several nations and on Friday it said Americans should reconsider travel to Italy, where nearly 900 coronavirus cases have been confirmed. A similar warning was issued earlier this week for South Korea, which has hundreds of infections.

The number of confirmed U.S. cases of the respiratory disease is still relatively small at 62, most of them repatriated American passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan, but there are growing fears that the country is on the cusp of a wider outbreak.

Latest figures from China, where the outbreak started late last year, indicated that nearly 80,000 people have been infected, with more than 2,800 deaths. The World Health Organization reported 57 deaths in 46 other countries.

The United States has decided to postpone a meeting with leaders of Southeast Asian countries it had planned to host on March 14 in Las Vegas because of worries about the outbreak.