The novel corona virus continues to spread in Italy. After the number of confirmed cases in the country climbed to over 220 on Monday, South Tyrol also reported the first case on Monday evening. The 31-year-old infected had reported himself to the authorities after a trip to the severely affected Lombardy, and had initially been tested negatively, as the state of South Tyrol announced on Twitter. Only a second test brought positive results.
As the daily newspaper reported in Südtriol, the contact persons of the man are currently being examined. In addition, the sample has already been transported to Rome, where a third test is to take place. The government in South Tyrol set up a telephone number (800751751) at which citizens can find out about the situation from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. This is to guarantee that the emergency number 112 is only used for emergencies such as high fever or severe breathing difficulties.
First virus cases in Austria
Austria reported the first cases of coronavirus on Tuesday afternoon. Two people in the state of Tyrol were infected, said a spokeswoman for the state health authority. A second test was also positive. According to media reports, there are two 24-year-old Italians from Lombardy who live in Innsbruck. The affected had reported themselves to the control center after having discovered symptoms of illness in themselves.
There is also another corona virus case in Spain. A man who had traveled from the affected Italian region of Lombardy to the Canary Island of Tenerife was tested there positively. It is the third confirmed case in Spain, according to the TV station RTVE there is also a suspected case in Valladolid on the mainland. The Adeje city press office said the hotel the man lived in was quarantined. According to Spanish media, the approximately 1,000 tourists in the complex are not allowed to leave the complex.
Spahn on health ministers meeting in Rome
Given the rapid spread of the virus, the Italian government plans to discuss the situation with neighboring countries and Germany this Tuesday. Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn also travels to Rome for this. In addition to the host, his colleagues from Slovenia, France, Switzerland and Austria will also take part in the afternoon meeting.
According to the authorities, at least seven infected people died in Italy by early Monday evening – all of them had previous illnesses. The number of confirmed infections is 229. More than 25 people are in the intensive care unit. On the previous evening there were still around 150 reported infected people. Italy is currently by far the country with the most cases recorded in Europe.
In Lombardy, which was particularly hard hit, ten municipalities in the province of Lodi were declared restricted zones. There security guards control who is allowed in and out.
Health Minister Spahn said on Monday that a virus does not stop at national borders. When asked whether entire cities could also be sealed off in Germany, he said that theoretically a lot is conceivable. Such a step is not necessary. “From the cancellation of major events (…) to the complete closure of entire cities, there are still many intermediate stages.”
Ministers are expected to discuss reactions to the spread of the virus at their meeting in Rome. Italian civil defense and the government in Rome had already spoken out against border closures. This is legally feasible, but has no practical use, according to civil protection.
Falling case numbers in China
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in Geneva on Monday that it was encouraging that the number of cases in China declined. Around 500 new cases were reported from there, 71 people died of Covid-19 there. The figures from Italy, Iran and South Korea are nevertheless very worrying, said Ghebreyesus. According to the WHO’s assessment, it has so far not been a pandemic, but epidemics in individual countries.
Given the situation, several companies have corrected their sales forecasts, including the US airline United Airlines and Mastercard. President Trump asked the U.S. Congress on Monday for a total of $ 2.5 billion to fund measures to protect the United States from further spread of the virus.