Updates: US states escalate virus preparation, countries scramble to limit spread

With worries growing about the new coronavirus in the U.S., state officials are ramping up efforts to prepare for a possible outbreak while simultaneously trying to assure the public that they are well-positioned to handle it.

Governors and legislators in several states have proposed pumping millions of dollars into programs to combat the virus that causes the COVID-19 illness. State health officials are checking on stockpiles of supplies such as face masks and respirators and arranging potential isolation sites for sick patients.

Many states also are pursuing federal approval to conduct tests for the virus at their own labs, which could confirm or rule out potential cases more rapidly than waiting on results from federal labs.

Select from the latest stories to learn more about a flurry of developments in the U.S. and around the world today as stocks plunge, countries restrict travel and officials try to resassure the public.

Photos: US, other countries work to contain virus spread