Coronavirus nears Belgium: Germany confirms case 60 km from border

Coronavirus nears Belgium: Germany confirms case 60 km from border
Credit: © Belga

The coronavirus is coming closer to Belgium since the outbreak in Italy, as infected people have turned up in neighbouring countries close to the Belgian borders.

In Germany, a man from the town of Erkelenz in the North Rhine-Westphalia state, about 60 kilometres from the Belgian border, has been confirmed infected with the coronavirus, according to the German authorities.

Additionally, a German man (47) who tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday, spent some time in the Dutch province of Limburg last week. He was reportedly admitted with severe pneumonia on Monday afternoon to a hospital in Erkelenz. It is unknown whether this is the same patient who is infected in North Rhine-Westphalia, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

However, it has since been confirmed by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) that the patient was not yet sick during his stay in the Dutch province, eliminating the need for contact research in the Netherlands.

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In France, the first French coronavirus patient, a 60-year-old man, has died in Paris, according to the French authorities. Previously, another patient infected with the coronavirus had died while in France, but he was a Chinese tourist, not a French national.

The French authorities also confirmed two new detected coronavirus cases. One patient, a 55-year-old man, is in critical condition in the hospital in Amiens. The other is a 36-year-old Frenchman who returned from the Italian region of Lombardy, and is now in a hospital in Strasbourg. So far, a total of 17 infections have been recorded in France.

On the Spanish island of Tenerife, about 1,000 tourists are being quarantined after their hotel went into lockdown following the infection of a guest. At least 116 Belgians and 2 Dutchmen are among those quarantined.

Maggie De Block, the Federal Health Minister, said on Tuesday that Belgians travelling to Italy should heed the advice of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, which urged caution to travellers as the outbreak in Italy picked up speed on Monday and asked them to register online before leaving the country, but that is was "not useful" to close the borders.

Following the coronavirus outbreak in Italy last week, cases have been confirmed in Spain, Switzerland, Austria and Croatia as well.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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