Health officials scramble to contain deadly virus

The coronavirus is spreading widely across Asia, the U.S. and now is in Europe and Australia.
4:37 | 01/25/20

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Transcript for Health officials scramble to contain deadly virus
The deadly new virus spreading around the world. "The Wall Street journal" reporting that the U.S. Government is arranging a charter flight to evacuate U.S. Citizens from the city of Wuhan. The coronavirus spreading with confirmed cases across Asia, in the U.S. And now in Europe and Australia. ABC's senior foreign correspondent Ian Pannell is in Hong Kong with the latest. Ian, good morning. Reporter: Yeah, good morning, Eva. That's right, we're getting news partly from "The Wall Street journal," but we also heard from the state departments on Friday that the consul general in Wuhan -- there is a U.S. Consulate there -- had said that families, personnel, nonemergency personnel should leave the city also urging all Americans to leave Wuhan. Now we know that the airport is closed so, of course, it makes sense the U.S. Government is chartering a plane. We understand from that wall Street journal report there's something like a thousand U.S. Citizens, the U.S. Consulate there, making efforts to try to contact them, of course, not everyone will necessarily want to leave because they'll have family there but that's the situation there as we report from Hong Kong a city that's just declared a virus emergency with all schools now staying closed until mid-february as the crisis escalates across this region and around the world. This morning, the numbers infected with the potentially deadly coronavirus soaring. There are now more than 1,300 cases in China alone with patients now in every part of the world's most populated country,ty tibet. This is the scene in the epicenter of the outbreak. A seemingly impossible task as dozens of excavators work through the night to building a brand-new thousand-bed hospital in just ten days. Now a second 1,300-bed facility has been announced. This space is desperately needed as are more medics with more now being flown in to help with the rapidly growing crisis. There are now 35 cases outside China in 13 countries or territories. Today Australia, Malaysia joined this growing list and now with two confirmed cases in the U.S., health officials saying they expect more Americans will be diagnosed with this potentially deadly virus in the coming days. The latest confirmed case is a woman in her 60s from Chicago. She returned from China last week and fell sick three days later. The CDC are now testing 63 patients from 22 states. Our focus right now is on travelers returning from Wuhan but the situation is changing rapidly and we're continuing to assess and we'll make new guidance if needed. Reporter: Meanwhile, officials in China now confirming the youngest known case so far, this is a 2-year-old girl suffering from the coronavirus rushed to hospital. Now she's said to be in stable condition but with most cases in older patients so far, this is a potentially worrying development as this crisis just seems to escalate. Whit? No question about that. Ian Pannell for us, thank you so much. We want to bring in ABC news chief medical correspondent, Jennifer Ashton with more on all of this. Thank you for being with us on this. The images we're seeing out of China are alarming. Walk us through this type of response to an outbreak like this. That's important. We're talking about basic infection control and how disease detectives deal with epidemics. It starts with surveillance to track down the geographic spread and the time spread which can tell us about the incubation period. Then you move on to contlling the virus, the source, which sometimes will include isolation or quarantine. And then education, really important not just for the public but for the health care professionals and public health officials dealing with this. You spent time yesterday in a New York City hospital. What did you learn about how they're preparing? We were at New York City health and hospital's Bellevue here. It was very clear they are completely prepared as are really every hospital in the country really. They practice drills. They go through this on a regular basis. Not just for something like coronavirus but for any pathogen or any disease. Give us perspective as people are taking in this information. We're talking about what's happening in China in the U.S. Still thousands of people have died in the U.S. From the flu. That's a key perspective and so is history. It's evolving. It's dynamic. We are learning as we go. The CDC flu estimates out yesterday, an estimated 15 million flu cases and 8,200 deaths. People should be more concerned right now with the flu in this country. We're still watching this developing story. Jennifer Ashton, thank you so much. You bet. Dan?

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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