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Five Britons in French ski resort catch coronavirus after contact with man who had been in Singapore

Five Britons in French ski resort catch coronavirus after contact with man who had been in Singapore

Passengers being checked as they disembark from a plane carrying French citizens flown out of the coronavirus hot-zone in Wuhan, upon their arrival at the Istres-Le Tube Air Base in Istres, southeastern France. (Photo: AFP/Handout/ECPAD)

PARIS: Five British nationals including a child have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in France, after staying in the same ski chalet and coming into contact with a person who had been in Singapore, French health officials said said on Saturday (Feb 8).

The new cases emerged after authorities began to retrace the recent travels of one British citizen confirmed by Britain to have contracted the virus in recent days, senior health official Jerome Salomon told a news conference.

READ: 7 new coronavirus cases in Singapore, including taxi and private-hire drivers

Agnes Buzyn, France's health minister, added that the group of people newly infected with the virus were not in a serious condition.

They had formed "a cluster, a grouping around one original case", she said, after staying in the same chalet, in the Contamines-Montjoie resort in Savoie in eastern France. Contamines is in the French Alps, close to the Swiss city of Geneva.

Four overseas cases of novel coronavirus linked to Singapore: Here’s what we know

"That original case was brought to our attention last night, it is a British national who had returned from Singapore where he had stayed between Jan 20 and 23, and he arrived in France on Jan 24 for four days," Buzyn said.

Two of the apartments in the ski chalet were being examined, health officials said, adding that no other people had been affected by the outbreak in the resort.

The infected Britons had been hospitalised overnight in the region, in the cities of Lyon, Grenoble and Saint-Etienne, the ministry added.

The total number of people infected with the virus in France has now reached 11.

The six others include one man in a serious condition, while the others have shown signs of improvement in recent days, according to medical officials.

Authorities are now seeking to contact people who came into close contact with the initially infected Briton.

The French government has been in touch with Singapore and Britain, and Singaporean authorities were looking into a business meeting that took place in a hotel and was attended by 94 foreigners, they said.

On Saturday, Singapore confirmed seven new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking its tally to 40.

At least four overseas cases have been linked to an international business conference at Singapore's Grand Hyatt hotel last month.

READ: Coronavirus outbreak: Singapore raises DORSCON level to orange; schools to suspend inter-school, external activities

The new coronavirus that emerged in a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of last year has killed 722 people and infected more than 34,546 people in China.

Outside China, there have been more than 320 infections reported in nearly 30 other places. There have also been two deaths, one in the Philippines and the other in Hong Kong. Both of those victims were Chinese nationals.

On Saturday, it was reported the virus had claimed its first two foreign victims - a US citizen who was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus and a Japanese man suspected to have the infection. Both died in Wuhan.

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Source: Agencies/aj


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