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The first case of the deadly coronavirus in Germany has been confirmed. Health authorities last night confirmed that a man in Bavaria has contracted the virus.
According to the Bavarian Ministry of Health, a man from Starnberg (around 30 km south-west of Munich) has become infected with the pathogen. This was confirmed by a ministry spokesperson on Tuesday night. According to the “Task Force Infectious Diseases” of the State Office for Health and Food Safety (LGL), the man is undergoing clinical treatment in isolation and is in a stable condition.
At a press conference on Tuesday morning, the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety confirmed that the 33-year-old patient works for Webasto, an automotive supplier based in Stockdorf. His case is unusual since it is the first known example outside of China of the infection passing between people who are not closely related.
He apparently caught the infection from a colleague, who had travelled from China to the head office in Stockdorf for a training seminar. Upon their return to China, this colleague tested positive for the virus. The company has now cancelled all trips to and from China for the next two weeks at least.
The ministry spokesperson emphasised, “The risk of the Bavarian population becoming infected with the coronavirus is currently considered low by the “Task Force Infectious Diseases” and the Robert Koch Institute.”
Health Minister Jens Spahn later tweeted that authorities had always expected that the virus would reach Germany. Doctors and hospitals are therefore well-prepared to deal with the virus. People who have had close contact with the man in question will be informed in detail and told about possible symptoms, hygiene measures and transmission routes.
Since the beginning of the year, the previously-unknown lung disease has spread outwards from Wuhan in central China. Authorities are trying to stop the spread with drastic travel restrictions, effectively placing the entire central Chinese province of Hubei under quarantine.
Nonetheless, these measures have not been enough to stop the virus’ progress, as the number of officially registered cases and fatalities continues to skyrocket. The death toll has risen to at least 106 and the total number of officially registered cases is now more than 4.500.
Outside of China, there have been around 50 cases of the illness in around a dozen countries. This case in Bavaria is the fourth to be registered in Europe after three individuals in France contracted the disease in China. They are currently in isolation.
Germany has encouraged people to refrain from “unnecessary trips” to China and is even considering evacuating its citizens from Wuhan.