DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds said Thursday that her former boss, U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, plans to stay in Beijing while China deals with a serious outbreak of the coronavirus.
Reynolds told her weekly news conference that she has not spoken with the former Iowa governor, but her staff has and received indications he planned to stay in the Asian nation.
“We’re not sure what Chris (Branstad’s wife) is going to do, but the kids are planning on coming back,” Reynolds said, referring to the Branstads’ daughter, her husband and their two children. They have been living in a guesthouse at the U.S. ambassador’s complex in Beijing.
Reynolds, who served as lieutenant governor under Branstad, was joined at her news conference by state health officials. They reiterated that two Iowans who recently returned to the United States from China are being tested for coronavirus, with results expected in a couple of days.
The two, who were not identified, are under voluntary home confinement as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitors them for the respiratory virus that has sickened thousands in China and across the world.
No coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Iowa, said Dr. Caitlin Pedati, state epidemiologist and medical director for the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Reynolds called the situation “very fluid,” but assured Iowans that “the risk is low” and that state officials do have a response plan in the event that it is needed.