Switzerland confirms first case of coronavirus

Switzerland confirms first case of coronavirus
Credit: © Belga

The first case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Switzerland on Tuesday, according to the Federal Office of Public Health.

Analyses by the laboratory in Geneva have detected a case of coronavirus infection in Ticino, an Italian-speaking region in southern Switzerland, according to the authorities.

The male patient is in his seventies and had been infected in the Milan region of Italy during an event on 15 February. The first symptoms appeared two days later, explained Federal Office of Public Health director Pascal Strupler, according to local media.

The man has remained with his family, and is now in isolation at a clinic in Lugano, Ticino, but is said to be doing well. Those who have been in contact with him will be tested and placed in quarantine to monitor their condition over the next 14 days.

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On Monday, Health Minister Alain Berset announced a strengthening of measures to combat the virus following the spread of the disease in Italy. Tests on people with flu-like symptoms are being stepped up, particularly in hospitals in Ticino, reports the Belga press agency. The tests give results within two hours, which should save time in suspected cases.

An information campaign with flyers and posters has been launched at borders and airports for travellers and commuters.

“We are still in a normal situation,” Strupler added. However, the probability of further cases being diagnosed is increasing.

So far, around 300 suspected cases of the coronavirus (Covid-19) have been tested in Switzerland, but there had been no confirmed cases until now, according to the Interior Ministry.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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