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NY governor anticipates coronavirus spread

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New York (AFP)

Governor Andrew Cuomo said Monday he expects the new coronavirus is spreading in New York, a global hub of commerce and finance, as it deals with its first confirmed case.

"I've been saying for many days, it's not if but when. We're New York. This is a global situation," he said on CNN.

The city's first confirmed coronavirus case was detected in a health care worker, a 39-year-old woman who tested positive after returning from Iran.

Cuomo said the woman, a Manhattan resident, was not symptomatic on the flight home but "very aware of the situation."

"And that turns out to be good news in this case. Because she basically was isolated at home, went for a test. The test came back positive and she's isolated in her home again and being treated."

"She wasn't symptomatic when she was on the plane. And she didn't take public transportation. Again, she is a health care worker. She's very sophisticated in this area. She took precautions that turned out to be advantageous," he said.

While that case was not itself a cause for broader concern, Cuomo said the state was ramping up the public health system to contain the spread of the virus.

"We will be testing for community spread. I fully expect to find community spread. You can't have it in this many places on the globe and in this many places in the country and it not be in New York," he said.

"But you can't let the fear outpace reality, right?" he added.

The United States has now had two deaths from the virus and recorded some 70 confirmed cases, mostly on the US west coast.

Some of those cases are believed to be the result of its spreading within communities, as opposed to infections contracted overseas or from persons who had recently traveled to foreign hot spots.

Globally, more than 3,000 people have died as a result of the virus and more than 89,000 have been infected.

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