CORONAVIRUS

Terry Branstad staying in China amid coronavirus outbreak

But U.S. ambassador's daughter and her family plan to return to U.S.

FILE - This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019
FILE — This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The coronavirus outbreak has exposed a seeming disconnect between the financial markets and science. Health experts are uncertain how far the virus out of China will spread and how bad the crisis will get, yet stock markets are rallying as if they’re not expecting more than a modest hit to the global economy. (CDC via AP, File)

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.

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