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France confirms first cases of coronavirus in Europe

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France has announced two cases of a deadly new virus from China, the first in Europe.

The two confirmed cases were announced on Friday by the French health minister, Agnes Buzyn, who said both people had travelled to China.

The minister said she expects more cases.

“We have two cases,” she said. “We will probably have other cases.”

One reason why France is the first European country to have confirmed cases is that it has developed a test allowing medics to rapidly diagnose infected people, Buzyn said.

One of the pair, a 48-year-old man, passed through Wuhan, the epicentre in China for the virus, before travelling to France on Wednesday, she said.

That person is hospitalised in the southwestern city of Bordeaux.

The other person is in a Paris hospital.

The minister said that person also travelled to China but that she has little other information about the case.

It was confirmed shortly before she spoke at a news conference.

Earlier, the United States reported its second case, involving a Chicago woman in her 60s who was hospitalised after returning from China.

According to the World Health Organization, signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

In more severe cases, coronavirus can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. (Al Jazeera)

 

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