Five UK citizens test positive for coronavirus in France

Five British nationals including a child have tested positive for the new coronavirus in France, the health minister said today, adding that they had all stayed at the same ski chalet.

France has now detected a total of 11 cases of the novel coronavirus, and the new “cluster” is centred on a Briton who had returned from Singapore and stayed in Contamines-Montjoie, near Mont Blanc in the French Alps, Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said.

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“They show no serious signs” of a life-threatening infection added Buzyn, herself a doctor.

The Briton at the centre of the new cases is now in Britain and was not counted among the French tally, she told a press conference.

In addition to the five Britons who have tested positive for the virus, six other Britons staying in the same chalet in late January were also hospitalised for observation, the minister said.

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Authorities in France and Singapore are now trying to contact people who came into close contact with the initially infected Brit, she said.

He was on a business trip and had stayed at a hotel for an event with 94 other foreigners, according to senior health official Jerome Salomon who attended the press briefing along with Buzyn.

Other “clusters” have been identified in Malaysia and South Korea around people who attended the same event, he said.

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Most of the six previous cases in France appear to have been treated successfully, though all are still in hospital.

One man, an 80-year-old Chinese national, is nonetheless “still in critical condition” in a Paris hospital, Salomon said.

The novel coronavirus which erupted in Wuhan, central China, in December has already infected more than 34,500 people and killed more than 700, according to the latest official figures from China.

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