March 1, 2020 / 3:05 PM / a month ago

U.S. aims to expand number of diagnostic kits for coronavirus; expand surveillance testing

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar speaks to reporters about Trump administration efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak outside the White House in Washington, U.S., February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has 75,000 diagnostic kits for testing coronavirus available at the moment and will expand that number “radically” in coming weeks, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

Azar told the program that surveillance testing of flu-like symptoms was already underway in key urban areas, including San Francisco, but he hoped to expand such testing across the country as the United States scrambles to contain the fast-spreading epidemic.

He said there was likely to be more community spreading of the virus in the United States, and it was uncertain how large the outbreak would become.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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