WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump moved to quell fears about the novel coronavirus after the first death on US soil was confirmed Saturday.

The US fatality occurred in Washington State’s King county, which includes Seattle, a city of more than 700,000 people, said health officials.

The victim was not immediately identified, but Trump told reporters that the victim was a woman in her late 50s.

“We’ve taken the most aggressive actions to confront the coronavirus,” he added. “Our country is prepared for any circumstance. There is no reason to panic at all.”

France on Saturday cancelled all gatherings of 5,000 people or more in a bid to contain the coronavirus outbreak which has infected 100 people throughout the country.

The virus has now hit 61 countries across the globe, with more than 2,900 people killed and nearly 86,000 infected since it was first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

Published in Dawn, March 1st, 2020