Germany confirms three more coronavirus cases
Germany confirmed three more cases of coronavirus on Tuesday evening, bringing the total number of people infected in the country to four.
On Monday, the health ministry in the state of Bavaria reported that a 33-year-old German man had contracted the virus and was receiving treatment in a Munich hospital.
The German patient is Europe’s first confirmed case of human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus outside of Asia.
The virus which originated in Wuhan, China, has killed more than 130 people in China so far, and infected around 6,000. It has spread to 13 other countries, including the US, Australia, Singapore, and Taiwan.
The infected German man is an employee at Webasto, an automotive parts supplier headquartered near Munich with offices and plants in China. He had caught the virus from a Chinese co-worker, who was visiting the German office from Shanghai for a seminar.
The Chinese employee started to feel ill on her flight home to China on 23 January, authorities said at a press conference on Tuesday, and was confirmed to be infected with the virus.
On Tuesday evening, the German Health Ministry said that the three new cases were connected to the Webasto employee. The Webasto plant near Munich said it will close until further notice.
“There were a total of around 40 employees who have been determined to have been in contact with the [Chinese] woman,” the ministry said. “Those affected will be tested on Wednesday as a precaution.”
German airline Lufthansa has so far not suspended direct flights to and from China, but said it was giving flight crews the option to wear protective masks if they prefer.
A Lufthansa spokesman said on Tuesday that the air in the planes is filtered, which removes bacteria, so the risk of infection is low.
Federal health minister Jens Spahn said on Tuesday that Germany was well prepared to deal with the virus, and that “there’s no need for excessive worry.”