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Coronavirus case confirmed in Germany as death toll reaches 106 in China

In the US, authorities have warned citizens against all non-essential travel to China.

Women disinfects the door of a complex in Wuhan.
Women disinfects the door of a complex in Wuhan.
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

Updated Jan 28th 2020, 12:08 PM

 GERMANY HAS CONFIRMED its first case of the coronavirus as the novel virus continues to spread worldwide. 

The health ministry in the southern state of Bavaria confirmed that a man from Starnberg, south of Munich, is “in a clinically good condition” and is being medically isolated. 

People who have been in close contact with him are being informed about possible symptoms and hygiene measures.

The ministry said it considers the risk to the general population in Bavaria to be “low”. Authorities intend to hold a news conference in Munich today with further details of the case expected. 

Nearly all of the dozens of cases outside China are among people who recently travelled from the central city of Wuhan where the outbreak began last month.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the US has escalated its travel warning for citizens to “avoid all non-essential travel” to China as the death toll from the coronavirus has climbed to 106 in recent days. 

“The CDC recommends that travelers avoid all non-essential travel to China,” it said in a statement online. 

The US is one of several countries, including France and Canada, to have confirmed cases of the virus. 

“In response to an outbreak of respiratory illness, Chinese officials have closed transport within and out of Wuhan and other cities in Hubei province, including buses, subways, trains, and the international airport,” the CDC said. 

“Additional restrictions and cancellations of events may occur. There is limited access to adequate medical care in affected areas.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland has not moved to advise Irish citizens to avoid non-essential travel to the entire country but is advising a “high degree of caution”.

Yesterday, it did, however, extend its advice on visiting China today to avoid the entire province of Hubei, an area of around 185,000km squared. It has a population of nearly 60 million people. 

The latest figures from China’s National Health Commission indicate that 106 people have died from it. 

Authorities reported 25 deaths, with all but one in Hubei province where the virus is believed to have originated.

The number of total cases has now reached more than 4,500.

China has locked down cities across the province, isolating some 50 million people in a sweeping anti-disease effort.

The US Consulate in Wuhan, where authorities cut off most access last Wednesday in an effort to contain the disease, was preparing to fly its diplomats and some other Americans out of the city.

A number of other governments including Japan, France and Mongolia are also preparing evacuations.

China had expanded its already sweeping disease-control efforts by extending the end of this week’s Lunar New Year holiday, the country’s busiest travel season, by three days to Sunday to keep the public at home and reduce the risk infection will spread.

Tests for students, including English proficiency, which are needed to apply to foreign universities have also been cancelled.

Public schools and universities have been ordered to postpone reopening following the Lunar New Year holiday until further notice.

China has confirmed more than 2,700 cases of the new virus, most in Wuhan, while more than 40 cases have been confirmed elsewhere in the world.

Almost all involve Chinese tourists or people who visited Wuhan.

With reporting from PA. 

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