WATCH LIVE: Michigan Gov. Whitmer on state’s preparation for coronavirus

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. (WDIV)

DETROIT – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will hold a news conference on Friday morning to lay out how the state is preparing for the potential spread of coronavirus.

UPDATE: Michigan activates state emergency operations center to prepare for coronavirus

Other leading state health and law enforcement officials are also expected to speak. There are currently no known coronavirus cases in Michigan, but 357 are being monitored.

Governments at the state and local levels are continuing to ramp up preparedness plans in the event coronavirus continues to spread in the U.S., which the CDC said is “a matter of when, not if.”

From California to Italy, France, Germany, Spain and beyond, more cases are popping up in which the source of the virus remains a mystery. People who weren’t exposed through travel or contact with someone previously infected are testing positive.

Health authorities in all these places are working hard to find the original source of infection using what’s called contact tracing, or finding all the people the latest patients were in contact with. In a highly mobile world, that’s increasingly difficult.

Vice President Mike Pence sought to project calm Thursday in his new role as chief coordinator of the government’s response to the coronavirus as the Trump administration rushed to contain mounting public concerns and some of the worst stock market declines in more than a decade.

Pence convened his first meeting of President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force one day after the president made him the government’s point-person for the epidemic. Pence also tapped a seasoned medical professional to be his chief adviser and said Trump had “tasked us to take every step necessary” to protect the American people.”

Countries with coronavirus cases in or near their borders are taking every precaution to limit the spread of the virus.

Saudi Arabia has responded to the fears by banning foreign pilgrims from visiting Islam’s holiest shrines. That will change the face of this year’s annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, and disrupt plans for millions of faithful from around the world who come to the kingdom to pray together.

The decision illustrates how tense the situation is across the Gulf region and the wider Middle East as a whole largely as a result of the spike in deaths and infections in Iran. Iran has now seen more virus deaths than anywhere except China, where it first emerged at the end of 2019.

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