The United States reported four more deaths from novel coronavirus in Washington state on Monday, taking the nation’s death toll to six and making the northwestern state the focus of the country’s outbreak concerns. Health officials from King county, which reported three more deaths, and Snohomish county, with one fatality, said in a briefing on Monday that the elderly and patients with underlying health conditions were more likely to develop serious problems, adding that most of the cases involved mild symptoms. Several cases can be traced to a nursing care facility in Kirkland, a suburb of Seattle in King county, where the first two deaths were reported. In total, US has confirmed close to 100 cases of the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, central China, in December. The latest deaths followed the abrupt cancellation of a press briefing by Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official Nancy Messonnier. The CDC removed information from its website that showed the cumulative number of people who have been tested for the virus. The figure was displayed on Sunday. In a briefing on Monday, US Vice-President Mike Pence, who was appointed by President Donald Trump last week to lead the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said that the risk to the American public “remains low”, as the Washington cases were largely concentrated in the care facility. US and China must pause strategic rivalry and battle Covid-19 together “There has been no limitation in terms of domestic travels,” said Pence. Although he said “this is the time to use common sense, it’s the time to wash your hands. It’s a good thing to do during this time of the year.” At the same briefing, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said that “close to 1 million tests will be performed as of the end of the week.” The statements by Pence and Hahn came after the government was criticised for not being fully prepared to deal with the outbreak. Trump has tried to play down the risk of the spread of the virus, which has claimed more than 3,000 lives and infected more than 90,000 people worldwide, mostly in Hubei province. The president met pharmaceutical company executives on Monday and repeatedly asked them if a vaccine could be available “in a few months”. The executives said that vaccine development required multiphase trials, which took time. Pence said in an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that the US has lagged behind other countries in the manufacturing and distribution of coronavirus testing kits. Italian national among three new India coronavirus cases He initially claimed there were 15,000 kits released over the weekend and plans to send out 50,000 more this week. He said the release of the kits over the weekend would be enough to test thousands of patients. The CDC has previously said that each diagnostic kit can test 700 to 800 patient samples. But Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Sunday that the administration would have the ability to test about 75,000 people. On Monday, Pence said the state department had worked with Italy and South Korea to implement a screening system for travellers entering the US. South Korea has started enforcing multiple temperature checks on travellers going to the US, he said. The same protocol was expected to be implemented by Italy. Outside Italy, there were no travel restrictions. “But we understand the European Union does not require visas to travel within the region and we have been monitoring the situation closely to determine whether additional restrictions on other countries will be implemented in coming days,” Pence said. Trump was expected to visit the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, on Tuesday, and the CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday. Additional reporting by Bhavan Jaipragas Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.