The German Health Ministry confirmed late on Tuesday that three further cases of thenew dangerous strain of coronavirus have been discovered in Bavaria, increasing the total numer 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.
“There were a total of around 40 employees who have been determined to have been in contact with the [Chinese] woman. Those affected will be tested on Wednesday as a precaution.”
The company in question was named as Webasto, which develops motor vehicle products, and is based near the Bavarian town of Starnberg.
The first patient was considered to be in a “medicially good state,” officials said, adding that the risk of infection for people in Bavaria remained low.
The Bavarian case is the first known example outside of China of the infection spreading between people who are not closely related.
Read more: Coronavirus: Everything you need to know
First discovered in the city of Wuhan, China, earlier in January, the new strain of the pneumonia-like virus is believed to have originated in the city’s animal market. At least 106 people have died in China and infected 4,500 others. About 50 cases have been recorded outside of China, in South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Nepal, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, the US, France and Australia.
Many countries, including Germany, have instituted health checks for airplane passengers arriving from China.
es/msh (dpa, AFP)