The German Health Ministry confirmed late on Tuesday that three further cases of the new dangerous strain of coronavirus have been discovered in Bavaria, increasing the total number of patients in Germany to four. The three new patients were “connected” to the first found in Germany, which had been verified on Monday.
Health officials said that the first person had contracted the disease from a Chinese colleague who had visited the area for a company workshop a week ago. Because the incubation period is believed to be unusually long — at up to two weeks — it is possible that the colleague had no symptoms at the time.
The first patient was considered to be in a “medically good state,” officials said, adding that the risk of infection for people in Bavaria remained low. The three further cases are being isolated for treatment at the Schwabing hospital in Munich.
The Bavarian case is the first known example outside of China of the infection spreading between people who are not closely related.
The death toll from a new coronavirus in China rose sharply to 132 on Wednesday with nearly 1,500 new cases, heaping pressure on Beijing to control the disease as U.S. officials said the White House was weighing whether to suspend all flights to the country.
Meanwhile, with 14 cases, Thailand now has the highest confirmed number of coronavirus infections outside China and people are starting to worry. Thailand is a top foreign holiday destination for tourists from Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus outbreak in China.
The Thai prime minister says the situation is under control but public health minister Anutin Charnvirakul admitted to Sky News that he expects the number of infections to rise.
“We are not able to stop the spread,” he said.