Germany confirms first case of coronavirus

World Tuesday 28/January/2020 15:33 PM
By: Times News Service
Germany confirms first case of coronavirus

The first person to have coronavirus in Germany was infected by a Chinese colleague who attended a company training in the state of Bavaria a week ago, health officials said on Tuesday.

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

The man who contracted the virus is from Starnberg, 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Munich, and is in a "medically good state," according to the health authority.

The ministry released a statement on Monday saying he was under surveillance in an isolation ward and that the risk of infection for the people of Bavaria is currently considered to be "low."

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

Unique case

The Bavarian case is the first known example outside of China of the infection spreading between people who are not closely related.

Approximately 50 cases have been recorded outside of China. Nearly all of the patients had recently returned from China. In a handful of international cases, the virus was passed between family members.

Germany 'well prepared'

German Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Twitter on Tuesday that Germany is in good shape to deal with the infection's arrival.

"It was expected that the virus would come to Germany," he wrote. "The case in Bavaria shows that we're well prepared."

Until Monday evening, only suspected cases had turned up in Germany. Some German states had responded by increasing security controls at airports.

Spahn said the government has plans ready for how airports and hospitals should act in case of a pandemic.

The new virus, which originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and can cause an acute respiratory infection, has so far killed at least 106 people and infected more than 4,500 others in China, while cases of the illness have also been reported across the globe.

Countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Nepal, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, US, France and Australia have all confirmed patients who have contracted the disease.