Coronavirus outbreak in Europe spreading from Italy, cases reported in Austria, Croatia, Switzerland and Algeria

A woman wearing a protective mask prays from an overpass in Bangkok, Thailand, 25 February 2020. Thailand on 24 February 2020 declared Covid-19 a dangerous communicable disease, as two new cases were recorded in the country, bringing the total number of infected patients to 37. EPA-EFE/DIEGO AZUBEL

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Several European countries have announced their first coronavirus cases, with all appearing to be linked to the growing outbreak in Italy.

Austria, Croatia and Switzerland said the cases involved people who had been to Italy, as did Algeria in Africa.

The first positive virus test has been recorded in Latin America – a Brazilian resident just returned from Italy.

An Italian doctor also tested positive on Tenerife.

The Algerian Ministry of Health confirmed on Tuesday the first case of coronavirus in the country, an Italian man who arrived on February 17.

The Minister of Health Health Shamsuddin Shitor said on state TV that the authorities were able to detect this case due to the vigilance system adopted at all land, air and maritime entry points to the country.

The Italian man is currently quarantined according to international standards, Shitor added.

Coronavirus in Italy
Emergency forces install an air dome equipped with medical supplies at Spallanzani hospital in case the number of people suffering from COVID-19 coronavirus increases, in Rome, Italy, 25 February 2020. EPA-EFE/ANGELO CARCONI

Italy has in recent days become Europe’s worst-affected country, with more than 300 cases and 11 deaths.

Eleven people have died from the coronavirus in Italy, commissioner Angelo Borrelli told a press conference Tuesday.
He said three 80-year-olds had died in the last few hours.

Also, a 76-year-old woman died of the coronavirus in Treviso on Tuesday after being admitted earlier in the day for respiratory complications.

Some 322 people have been infected with the virus in Italy, said the civil protection chief.
The number of those infected in Sicily has risen to three, he said.

Borrelli, who is also civil protection chief, added that two suspected cases in Tuscany have been confirmed including a 63-year-old businessman in Florence.

He also said there was a suspected case in Sicily that is subject to the final checks.

The Sicilian case is that of tourist from the northern city of Bergamo who tested positive in Palermo after being admitted to the Sicilian city’s Cervello hospital with flu symptoms. So far seven people with the coronavirus have died in Italy – all of them over 60 and several with pre-existing conditions.

Coronavirus case in Croatia
Exterior view on the hospital and clinic for infections ‘Fran Mihaljevic’ in Zagreb, Croatia, 25 February 2020. Croatian authorities confirmed on 25 February a first patient with milder symptoms of coronavirus. The patient is younger person and now he is in isolation with temporary good condition at quarantine in hospital. The patient came from Milan, Italy. EPA-EFE/ANTONIO BAT

The worst-hit region is Lombardy, where nine people have died and 240 people have contracted the deadly disease. There have been two deaths and 43 cases in Veneto, 26 in Emilia-Romagna, three in Piedmont, three in Lazio, one in Bolzano and now two in Tuscany and three in Sicily.

Health ministers from France, Germany, Italy and the EU Commission committed to keeping frontiers open at a meeting on Tuesday as new cases of the virus emerged throughout Europe and in central and southern Italy.

“We’re talking about a virus that doesn’t respect borders,” said Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza.

What’s the latest around Europe?

  • In Austria, a young Italian couple who live in Innsbruck in the Tyrol were confirmed to have the virus. One of the pair worked at a hotel, which has been closed
  • Switzerland said a man in his seventies living in Ticino, bordering Italy, had been infected in the city of Milan on 15 February and was now in isolation
  • A man in Croatia who recently returned from Italy became the first confirmed patient in the Balkans
  • In Spain’s Tenerife, up to 1,000 guests were locked down in a hotel after an Italian doctor and his wife tested positive for the virus
  • Spain reported its first case on the mainland, involving a woman in Barcelona who had been to northern Italy
  • France and Germany also reported new cases involving people who had recently been to northern Italy
  • Read more via ANSA/ BBC/ Reuters

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