Coronavirus reaches Switzerland too

By: AFP      Published: 08:46 PM, 25 Feb, 2020
Coronavirus reaches Switzerland too
A young tourist wearing a protective facemask and a Carnival mask visits the streets of Venice. AFP

Switzerland reported its first case of new coronavirus on Tuesday, after outbreaks were identified in its main neighbours Austria, France, Germany and Italy.

"It's confirmed," a spokeswoman for Switzerland's federal health office told AFP, adding that more details about the case would be released later on Tuesday. The case was found in the Italian-speaking Ticino canton on the border with Italy, the canton said on its website announcing a press conference for 1600 GMT.

Switzerland on Monday had said the country was in a state of "heightened vigilance" because of a surge in Italy. Prior to this case, the country had tested some 300 suspect cases that were all found to be negative.

The government said on Monday that it had stepped up testing on patients with flu-like symptoms and was working to raise awareness at all border points.

Earlier, two people in Austria have tested positive for the new coronavirus, authorities said Tuesday, marking the country's first cases after an outbreak in northern Italy. The two 24-year-olds have been quarantined in a hospital in Innsbruck, the capital of Tyrol province, which borders Italy, according to Tyrol Governor Guenther Platter.

One of them is from Lombardy, one of the Italian regions hit with the outbreak, but it is not yet clear how the two contracted the virus. Both are suffering a fever but are in a stable condition.

Italy, which borders Austria, has seen a huge jump in cases in recent days. Seven people in Italy have so far died after catching the virus, all of whom were either elderly or had pre-existing conditions.

According to the World Health Organization, the epidemic has peaked at its epicentre in China, where it has killed more than 2,600 people and infected over 77,000 others. But the situation has worsened elsewhere with nearly 2,700 other cases and more than 40 deaths globally.

Categories : Latest, World, Europe