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German Health Minister Jens Spahn. Wikipedia

Coronavirus arrives in Germany: ‘The epidemic has started’

The alarm was raised by the German Health Minister, Jens Spahn: "In the last few hours, the picture has changed. Let's prepare for a possible epidemic."

Published: February 27, 2020, 8:22 am

    Berlin

    Germany officially announced “the beginning of an Coronavirus epidemic”. According to reports from Die Welt, the alarm was raised by the German health minister, Jens Spahn, after seven new cases of contagion were found within the country.

    “We are in a new situation,” added Spahn, inviting the country to prepare “to make plans for a possible operational pandemic”.

    The infection chains can no longer be tracked, he said. “Unfortunately, the situation has changed in the last few hours. That has to be said, unfortunately.”

    Thus far, Italy has been the only black sheep in Europe, with over 400 infected patients and high up in the global ranking of countries most affected by Covid-19. But during the day, Germany also began to deal with a potential emergency scenario. This has prompted local authorities to raise their guard level as 23 people became infected with the virus in Germany within hours.

    One of the cases, a 40-year-old in the city of Erkelenz, near the Dutch border, is in critical condition. The man, who already had previous pathologies, was taken to a specialized hospital in Duesseldorf.

    Stephan Pusch, who heads the Heinsberg district administration, where Erkelenz is located, reported that schools and kindergartens in the area will remain closed and urged symptomatic people to stay at home and contact doctors by phone. The newspaper Bild reported that the man’s wife, hospitalized on February 25 in the same facility, also tested positive.

    Her husband had contact with an acquaintance who had recently returned from China, where he had gone on business. The authorities are very concerned about his wife’s contagion, since the woman is employed in a daycare center. The children were asked to stay home; tests and swabs are currently underway to check if there have been cases of contagion among the young.

    As if that were not enough, in the last two weeks the couple had taken part in numerous events, even on the occasion of the carnival. The couple may have infected the army of the Luftwaffe on duty at the air base in Cologne-Wahn. The infected was transported to the Koblenz Military Polyclinic.

    The case of Erkelenz added to the previous 14 infected individuals identified in Bavaria, between the employees of the Webasto company and their family members. Two other infected are German nationals repatriated on a flight together with 126 other compatriots from Wuhan.

    The list also includes a man identified in Baden-Wuerttemberg, who returned to his homeland with his family on 23 February after traveling to the quarantine area in the province of Lodi. And this could only be the beginning.

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