Germany confirms 1st case of new virus from China

BERLIN – A man confirmed as Germany’s first case of the new virus that has emerged in central China is believed to have been infected by a Chinese colleague who visited his workplace, authorities said Tuesday.

The 33-year-old from the Starnberg area south of Munich is in isolation at a Munich hospital as a precaution, officials in Bavaria said. However, they stressed that his condition is good.

The man took part last Tuesday in a training session at his workplace that also included an employee of the same company visiting from China, said Andreas Zapf, the head of Bavaria’s office for health and food safety.

The woman, who hadn’t previously shown any symptoms, flew home on Thursday and went to a doctor after feeling ill on the flight, Zapf said. She then tested positive for the new virus. The woman lives in Shanghai, but had been visited a few days earlier by her parents, who come from the worst-affected Wuhan area.

On Monday, the German company was informed of the positive test, and it informed authorities and employees. An employee who had been at the training session came forward and said he had experienced bronchitis-like symptoms over the weekend, though they had receded and he came to work on Monday.

Authorities decided when they received positive test results Monday evening to admit him to a hospital and put him in isolation for monitoring.

Auto parts supplier Webasto confirmed that it was the company involved and that the man works at its headquarters in Stockdorf, south of Munich. It cancelled all travel to and from China for the next two weeks and said that employees at Stockdorf are free to work from home this week.

Germany is the second European country to report a confirmed case of the virus. Authorities in France confirmed three cases in recent days – all Chinese citizens who recently travelled there.

The new type of coronavirus has infected thousands of people in China. Nearly all of the cases outside China are among people who recently arrived from there.

Bavarian authorities are working to figure out whom the patient had been in contact with and also set up a hotline on Monday for concerned people. Bavaria’s state health minister, Melanie Huml, said authorities are considering whether it makes sense to take people’s temperatures at airports.

The Associated Press



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