Germany confirms first human-to-human European coronavirus transfer

28 January 2020, 11:48 | Updated: 4 March 2020, 17:19

Germany has confirmed the first human-to-human coronavirus transmission in Europe
Germany has confirmed the first human-to-human coronavirus transmission in Europe. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Germany has confirmed the first case of human-to-human coronavirus transmission.

A man who tested positive for the strain was infected by a work colleague, officials said.

Andreas Zapf, the head of the Bavarian state office for health and food safety, said the man had not visited China himself, but a female Chinese colleague had recently visited her parents in Wuhan and flew home on 23 January.

The pair then came into contact when his Chinese colleague at the office of a car parts supplier Webasto in Stockdorf.

He tested positive for the virus on Monday evening.

Currently, the unnamed man is being treated in an isolation ward in hospital but is doing "very well", Zapf added.

The woman also sought medical attention following her return to Germany.

In the UK, 97 people have been tested for Coronavirus, with all coming back as negative.

But in China, at least 4,500 cases have now been reported and 106 people are confirmed to have died.

Earlier today, during a meeting with the head of the World Health Organisation, Chinese President Xi Jingping described the virus as a "demon".

According to state media, he said: "The epidemic is a demon, and we cannot let this demon hide.

"The Chinese government has always adopted an open, transparent and responsible attitude to timely release of information on the epidemic to domestic and foreign countries."

Workers disinfect a subway station in X'ian
Workers disinfect a subway station in X'ian. Picture: PA

More than 50 million people have been isolated in an effort to stop the virus in its tracks, with entire cities being ground to a halt, closing tourist attractions and extending school holidays to avoid contact between people.

Authorities in Hong Kong announced rail and ferry services were being suspended and flights to mainland China were being halved in order to stop the spread of the virus.

On Monday Mongolia took the unprecedented step of closing its 3,000-mile border with China.

The UK has said it is looking into how best to evacuate any citizens in stricken areas.

International governments are currently trying to plan evacuations
International governments are currently trying to plan evacuations. Picture: PA

The United States is also preparing to evacuate its citizens from Wuhan, which is the epicentre of the outbreak.

Japan and France have both said they are preparing to fly their citizens out, with the French health minister saying anyone evacuated would be isolated for 14 days in an effort to contain the virus.

Thailand and Hong Kong have reported eight cases each, there are five each in the US, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore and Macau, four in South Korea, Japan and Malaysia, three in France, and two in Vietnam and Canada.

Germany, Sri Lanka and Nepal all have one confirmed case, but so far there have been no deaths outside of China.

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