Wuhan virus: First confirmed case in Germany also Europe's first human-to-human transmission

Wuhan virus: First confirmed case in Germany also Europe's first human-to-human transmission

Wuhan virus in Germany
Information in German, English and Chinese languages about the Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV are on display at the Tegel airport in Berlin on Jan 26, 2020. (Photo: AFP)

BERLIN: Germany's first confirmed coronavirus patient caught the disease from a Chinese colleague who visited Germany last week, officials said on Tuesday (Jan 28), in the first human-to-human transmission on European soil, according to an AFP tally.

The Chinese employee, a woman from Shanghai "started to feel sick on the flight home on Jan 23", Andreas Zapf, head of the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety, said at a press conference.

A 33-year-old German, with whom she had attended a meeting in Bavaria, tested positive for the virus on Monday evening.

Bavaria's health ministry first confirmed that the man, from the town of Starnberg, 30km southwest of Munich, had been suffering from the virus on Monday.

The patient is in "good condition" and isolated under medical observation, the ministry in the southern state said in a statement posted on its website. 

"People who have been in contact (with the patient) have been informed in detail about possible symptoms, hygiene measures and transmission channels," it added.

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France was the first European country to be affected by the outbreak, which has reported three known cases of the virus. All three had recently travelled to China and have been placed in isolation.

Germany has recommended its citizens avoid "unnecessary" trips to China as the virus spreads.

The country is also considering the possible evacuation of its nationals from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus.

On Sunday, German news outlet Welt cited a spokesman for health minister Jens Spahn as saying the country was ready to deal with the outbreak. 

"Germany is well prepared for a pandemic," he said. "There are clear pandemic plans, regular exercises and the resources to react quickly and effectively. 

"We are constantly coordinating with all relevant national and international authorities on the situation."

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Cases have been identified in more than a dozen other countries, including the first confirmed patients in Canada and Sri Lanka.

The United States urged its citizens to "reconsider" all travel to China and told them not to go to central Hubei province, where the pneumonia-like virus emerged. Mongolia closed its vast border to vehicles from China.

In a sign of the mounting official concern, Premier Li Keqiang visited ground zero to oversee containment efforts in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people where the disease first appeared late last month.

A fifth case of the Wuhan virus was confirmed in Singapore on Monday. The patient is a 56-year-old female Chinese national from Wuhan who arrived in Singapore with her family on Jan 18. 

MORE: Our coverage on the Wuhan virus and its developments

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Source: CNA/Agencies/rw

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