France declares first cases of coronavirus to be diagnosed in Europe


Two Chinese nationals in Paris, and another in Bordeaux, are being treated in hospitals after being diagnosed with the deadly coronavirus, confirmed the French health ministry, which announced on Saturday that several others are being monitored for the virus which has killed 41 people and infected an estimated 1,400 others since its discovery in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December.

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Two of the three Chinese nationals in France who have been diagnosed with the Wuhan coronavirus arrived without showing symptoms, doctors at a Paris hospital said on Saturday, reports Reuters.

On Friday, France confirmed the first three cases of the virus in Europe, with two patients hospitalized in Paris and the other in Bordeaux. The health ministry said on Saturday that no new cases have been confirmed since then but several people were being monitored.

In China, 41 people have died from the virus and more than 1,400 people have been infected globally, including four in Australia and three in Malaysia.

The two patients in Paris are a Chinese couple who arrived in France on January 18th but did not show symptoms until January 19th and 23rd respectively, officials said.

“They showed no symptoms when they boarded their plane,” Yazdan Yazdanpanah, head of infectious diseases at Paris hospital Bichat told reporters.

The third patient, in Bordeaux, a 48-year old Chinese man who works in the French wine industry, had taken a plane from Wuhan to the Netherlands and entered France from there, SOS Medecins medical service in Bordeaux said.

Health minister Agnes Buzyn told reporters the man had entered France on January 22nd, had first consulted a doctor about his symptoms on January 23rd, and had been diagnosed with the virus on January 24th.

The delayed appearance of symptoms and the entry via a third country underline the limits of screening passengers arriving from China in airports.

Airports in several countries are using scanners to take the temperature of passengers arriving from China but France so far is not doing this. Passengers arriving on flights from China told BFM TV that they had been subject to no controls whatsoever upon entering France.

Read more of this report from Reuters.




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