Coronavirus spreads to Europe as death toll in China rises

Health officials in China say a coronavirus has killed 15 more people in the province of Hubei, where the outbreak first started.

There are currently 1,287 confirmed cases in China, 41 of whom have died.

The virus has now spread to Europe, with three cases confirmed in France, the BBC reported.

The first case was in Bordeaux, while the other two were in the Paris area, the French health minister said on Friday night.

French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn said one of the French cases, a 48-year-old man of Chinese origin who had been visiting Wuhan, had been hospitalised in Bordeaux. Little was known about the second case, in hospital in Paris, except that the patient had been travelling in China.

It was likely other cases would occur in Europe, Ms Buzyn added.

She confirmed a third case, in Paris, later on Friday evening.

Singapore confirmed its third case, known to be the son of another patient, also on Friday. Nepal recorded its first case on the same day.

Thailand has five cases confirmed; Japan, Vietnam and South Korea two each; and one in Taiwan.

Other nations are investigating suspected cases, including the UK, US, and Canada.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Embassy in Beijing is closely monitoring the evolving situation of the coronavirus infection in China and is presently in discussion with relevant Chinese authorities in Beijing and Wuhan as well as Sri Lankans in Wuhan and other parts of China.

The Embassy has been receiving queries from Sri Lankans in Hubei province especially in Wuhan as well as from their relatives in Sri Lanka

The Embassy has created a WeChat group by which the latest information is being updated and information from Sri Lankans in Wuhan also has been received. The Sri Lanka Embassy is also closely monitoring advisories issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Upon the advice of the Ministry of Foreign Relations, the Embassy is in discussion with the relevant Chinese authorities and other embassies in Beijing to explore all the possibilities of evacuating Sri Lankans in Wuhan.

The following Embassy officials can be contacted for any information in this regard:

Mr Alexi Gunasekara, Minister/Commercial  +8613070138025,

Brig. Kalpa Sanjeewa, Minister Counsellor/Defence +8613051733302,

Ms. Inoka Weerasinghe, Second Secretary+8615116905523,

Ms. Thilini Gunaratne, Second Secretary+8613121722296.

(Colombo Gazette/BBC)

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