Brookline has assembled a task force to keep up to date on news surrounding coronavirus, now called COVID-19.

The virus has spread across the globe, with new cases diagnosed in the United States this week. However, despite a growing number of cases in nearby communities — most recently in Wellesley and Boston — the risk is still low in Brookline, according to a Brookline Department of Public Health press release.

It’s a rapidly changing health issue, though, and the new task force will be charged with staying current about the virus and the situation in the U.S., Health Commissioner Dr. Swannie Jett said in the press release.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently updated its travel warning to level 3 for China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. This essentially cautions travelers to avoid all non-essential travel, as the outbreak puts travelers at high risk and there are no available precautions to protect against that increased risk, according to the CDC.

BPH strongly encourages anyone who has recently traveled to these four countries to stay home and self-monitor for two weeks upon entry into the U.S., according to the press release.

Self monitoring involves taking temperatures twice a day and remaining alert for cough or difficulty breathing, the press release goes on to say. If someone starts feeling feverish or develops a cough or difficulty breathing, they should take their temperature, limit contact with others and seek health advice over the phone to determine whether medical evaluation is needed.

The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever and respiratory illness, like cough and difficulty breathing. Severe cases may also see bronchitis, pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure or even death, according to the press release. Preliminary information suggests older adults and those with underlying health conditions may be at increased risk for severe complications.

Here are BPH’s tips for preventing the spread:

• Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 30-40 seconds

• Using alcohol-based hand rubs and gels with 60% alcohol

• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

• Avoiding close contact with people who are sick

• Staying home when you are sick

• Covering your cough or sneeze

• Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces

• Practicing social distancing

• Preparing to work at home

• Getting your flu vaccine and a vaccine against pneumococcal pneumonia for older people

And here’s how to prepare your household in case of an emergency:

• Make sure you have 20-30 days’ worth of your medications

• Have enough food for 7-10 days in case you need to self-isolate

• Make sure you have essentials on hand (laundry detergent, tissues, toilet paper...)

• Make sure you have a communication plan. Plan a support system in case you or a loved one gets sick

• Make plans in case an outbreak disrupts daily routines. What if public transportation is closed? No school? Can’t get to work? Etc...

• Unless necessary, avoid traveling to countries with high outbreaks of the virus. Check travel information via the CDC website. Be prepared to be quarantined upon return