Germany's first coronavirus case is human-to-human transmission

German man caught virus from Chinese colleague, who visited him from Shanghai and started to feel sick on flight home.

    Information in German, English and Chinese languages about the Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV are on display at the Tegel airport in Berlin on January 26, 2020 [Andreas Gora/dpa/AFP]
    Information in German, English and Chinese languages about the Novel Coronavirus 2019-nCoV are on display at the Tegel airport in Berlin on January 26, 2020 [Andreas Gora/dpa/AFP]

    Germany's first confirmed coronavirus patient caught the disease from a Chinese colleague who visited Germany last week, officials said on Tuesday.

    The case is the first human-to-human transmission reported on European soil.

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    The Chinese employee, a woman from Shanghai, "started to feel sick on the flight home on January 23", Andreas Zapf, head of the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety, said at a news conference.

    A 33-year-old German man, with whom she had attended a meeting in Bavaria, tested positive for the virus on Monday evening.

    The development means Germany has become the second European country after France to confirm its first case of coronavirus.

    The man infected, from Starnberg, south of Munich, is in a clinically good condition, Bavaria health officials said.

    He was isolated and is being medically monitored, while people who were in close contact with him were informed about possible symptoms and hygiene measures.

    Health Minister Jens Spahn said he was not surprised the virus had reached Germany but the case showed how well prepared the authorities were.

    He said the authorities were doing everything possible to stop the spread of the virus.

    "The risk to the health of people in Germany from the new respiratory disease from China remains low," he said, citing the opinion of experts at the Robert Koch Institute.

    At least 106 people have died from coronavirus, all in China, which is where the overwhelming majority of cases have been reported.

    Nearly all of the dozens of cases outside China are among people who recently travelled from there.

    On Friday, France became the first European country to confirm cases - with two people infected. Since then, it has reported one more case.

    Germany and France have said they will evacuate their citizens from Wuhan, the Chinese city where the virus is believed to have originated and where most cases are.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies