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Wuhan coronavirus: First case of human-to-human transmission confirmed in Germany

The man who has been infected had not visited China but contracted the virus from a Chinese work colleague who had recently been to the Wuhan region
UPDATED JAN 28, 2020
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A man confirmed as Germany's first case of the new coronavirus virus is believed to have been infected by a Chinese colleague who visited his workplace, authorities said on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old had not visited China and was reportedly infected by a Chinese work colleague in what is believed to be the first human transmission in Europe, according to AFP.

He attended a training session given by his Chinese work colleague on January 21 at the office of a car parts supplier Webasto in Stockdorf in Bavaria. He tested positive for the virus on January 27.

The Chinese woman had recently visited her parents in the Wuhan region. She immediately sought medical attention on her return to China and was confirmed to have caught the virus.

The colleague, who was in Germany last week, had started to feel sick on the flight home on January 23, Andreas Zapf, head of the Bavarian state office for health and food safety, said.

The man from the Starnberg area south of Munich is in isolation at a Munich hospital as a precaution, officials in Bavaria said. However, they stressed that his condition is good.

On Monday, the German company was informed of the positive test, and it informed authorities and employees. An employee who had been at the training session came forward and said he had experienced bronchitis-like symptoms over the weekend, though they had receded and he came to work on Monday.

Authorities decided when they received positive test results Monday evening to admit him to a hospital and put him in isolation for monitoring.
Auto parts supplier Webasto confirmed that it was the company involved and that the man works at its headquarters in Stockdorf, south of Munich. It canceled all travel to and from China for the next two weeks and said that employees at Stockdorf are free to work from home this week.

Germany is the second European country to report a confirmed case of the virus. Authorities in France confirmed three cases in recent days — all Chinese citizens who recently traveled there.

The new type of coronavirus has infected thousands of people in China. Nearly all of the cases outside China are among people who recently arrived from there.

Bavarian authorities are working to figure out whom the patient had been in contact with and also set up a hotline on Monday for concerned people. Bavaria's state health minister, Melanie Huml, said authorities are considering whether it makes sense to take people's temperatures at airports.

—With AP inputs