European borders remain open, as Italian coronavirus outbreak kills 11 & infects HUNDREDS

29 Février, 2020, 11:13 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • A health worker takes notes at the infectious disease clinic in Zagreb Croatia where the first coronavirus case in Croatia is hospitalized Tuesday Feb. 25 2020. Croatia confirmed its first case of coronavirus in a man who had been to Milan the capit

No European country has introduced new border controls as of yet, though many governments have imposed self-isolation on travelers who have recently visited COVID-19 hotspots, and have issued advice to postpone trips to Italy.

In a show of European unity, Germany and France both announced they would not restrict Italian air travel into their countries or advise citizens against travel to Italy, which is the nation with the third highest coronavirus infection rate globally.

At least in Lombardy, it appeared that restrictions, such as museum and school closures would be extended for another week.

The man had come into contact with dozens of people, including doctors and nurses at a Cologne hospital where he had gone for an unrelated health checkup, German officials said. "Let's forget about thinking it can be easily resolved, even though it's not popular to say that". Eleven towns, 10 in Lombardy and one in Veneto, remain under lockdown, with some 50,000 people affected by confinement measures.

The government has not been able to locate the origin of the outbreak clustered in northern Italy. The WHO has yet to declare the coronavirus a pandemic, even though it is now present in 38 countries, with nearly 81,000 confirmed cases as of Wednesday morning, of which 3 per cent are outside China.

They include four Italians who were visiting Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

In Japan, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea will be closed from Saturday to March 15, operator Oriental Land Co., said. While Carnival originally caused an increase in reservations, with 95 percent occupancy reported last weekend, numbers dropped once again after officials canceled the last two days of celebrations as a precaution. An Italian also tested positive in Nigeria and is recovering in a hospital in Lagos - the first case detected in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to 27-year-old student Carlo Caboni, the containment measures activated in northern Italy "will surely be useful to contain the epidemic, and there should be (now) more measures against virus panic". Spain has experienced an uptick in cases, raising the tally to 32 by Friday, with all but three of them linked to Italy's outbreak.

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Greece has announced three cases - all Greeks who had recently returned from northern Italy. Icelandic authorities were trying to track his travels overseas, apparently outside Italy's outbreak area.

Health ministers from France, Germany, Italy and the EU Commission committed to keeping frontiers open at a meeting on Tuesday as new cases of the virus emerged throughout Europe and in central and southern Italy.

Switzerland and Austria, which share a border with Italy, and Croatia, which shares a maritime border with Italy, have all reported their first cases of the coronavirus.

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The governor of the region of Lombardy, at the epicentre of Italy's coronavirus outbreak, has placed himself in quarantine after one of his staff came down with the disease. Prior to Monday, tests were all done by one laboratory in Geneva. The bustling metropolis has resembled more of a ghost town lately, as workers stayed home and tourism dwindled, as in other parts of Italy. Lodi and the surrounding province are at the centre of the Italian coronavirus outbreak, which has seen 17 people with the virus dead and some 650 people infected in Italy.

Italian travellers have been told they could face quarantine requests in some countries, and be asked to self-isolate in others.

Franz Katzgraber, the head of the Tyrol state health department, said authorities are now tracing possible contacts the patients may have had in Austria. But numbers of new infections there have been declining and attention has now turned to clusters of cases overseas and transmission between countries.

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