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Great Britain

French cases show coronavirus has reached Europe

France has identified two cases of the deadly new coronavirus from China, the first cases in Europe.

The two confirmed cases were announced by the health minister, Agnès Buzyn, on Friday evening. She said that both of those affected had travelled to China.

The minister said she expects more cases. “We have two cases,” she said. “We will probably have other cases.”

The minister said she believes that 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 those affected.

One of the patients, a 48-year-old man, passed through Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the outbreak, before travelling to France on Wednesday, the minister said. He is in hospital in the south-western city of Bordeaux. “He’s been put in an insulated room so as to avoid any contact with the outside world. He’s fine,” she said.

The other person is in hospital in Paris. The minister said that that person also traveled to China but that she has little other information about that case which was confirmed shortly before she spoke at a news conference.

The newly discovered virus has killed 26 people and infected more than 800. Most of the cases and all of the deaths so far have been in China, where officials have imposed severe restrictions on travel and public gatherings.

Cases have also been reported in South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, the US, Thailand and Vietnam.

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