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Coronavirus Health office confirms no cases of coronavirus in Switzerland

air passengers wearing masks

The virus has spread outside China, raising fears of a global pandemic.

(Keystone)

Two patients quarantined in Zurich do not have the coronavirus, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has confirmed.

The two people had been kept in isolation at the Triemli hospital in Zurich at the weekend after returning from a trip to China and showing signs of an infection which could have been linked to the coronavirus outbreak.  

The negative test results were announced on Tuesday.

“All samples analysed have shown to be negative,” Daniel Koch, head of transmissible diseases at FOPH, told reporters in Bern. The federal authorities are in permanent contact with the cantonal authorities. 

The Triemli hospital also announced on Tuesday morning that the two patients in quarantine were well and confirmed that they did not have the virus.

Doctors and laboratories must now report suspected cases of coronavirus infection to the cantonal and federal authorities within two hours. Koch said FOPH is also setting up a hotline to help answer the public’s questions about coronavirus.

Swiss Home Affairs Minister Alain Berset has declared that Switzerland is well prepared to face any outbreak of coronavirus and is ready to support international efforts to prevent a pandemic. 

Confusion

At the international level the situation remains confused and in constant evolution.

The coronavirus outbreak that began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, in the province of Hubei, has killed 106 people in China and infected more than 4,520 globally, most of them in China.

Thailand and Hong Kong have each reported eight cases of infection; the United States, Australia, Taiwan, Singapore and Macau have five each; Japan, South Korea and Malaysia each have reported four; France three; Vietnam and Canada two each, and one each in Germany, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Cambodia. No fatalities have been reported outside China.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is currently in China for meetings with Chinese officials including President Xi Jinping and State Councillor Wang Yi. China says the WHO chief approves of the Chinese government's measures to curb the outbreak and is against evacuations.

"Tedros said the WHO does not advocate for countries to evacuate their citizens from China, adding there was no need to overreact," the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement. "He said the WHO is confident in China's ability to prevent and control the epidemic."

Swiss in Wuhan

The Swiss embassy in China has registered eight Swiss citizens in Hubei province who live in the city of Wuhan, the Swiss foreign ministry said on Sunday. Half of them are no longer present and the others prefer to stay in the city, it said. The embassy is in contact with Swiss citizens based in other Chinese provinces. 

The Swiss foreign ministryexternal link said it was unaware of any Swiss citizens in China having contracted the virus. It continues to follow the situation closely and offer consular assistance.

Fabienne Blaser, a student from Bern who is currently in Wuhan, told Swiss public television SRF via videoexternal link that she was effectively under quarantine in the city and that the university required students to take their temperatures every day and send in the results online. Pictures showed a deserted campus. She said that she would like Swiss embassy assistance to leave the country. But nobody knows yet when Wuhan will be opened again

end of infobox

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This content was published on January 23, 2020 4:46 PM

swissinfo.ch

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