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Coronavirus

One child among 5 Britons infected with coronavirus in French Alps

French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said the new cases formed "a cluster grouping” around one original case.
French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said the new cases formed "a cluster grouping” around one original case. Lucas BARIOULET / AFP

Five British people – including a child – have been infected with the Wuhan coronavirus in the French Alps, after they were contaminated by a fellow Briton returning from Singapore.

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French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said the new cases, which bring the total number of people infected in France to 11, were not life-threatening and formed "a cluster grouping” around one original case.

"That original case was brought to our attention last night … It is a British national who had returned from Singapore where he had stayed between January 20 and 23, arriving in France on January 24 for four days," Buzyn said.

The four adults and one child were infected in the mountainous region of Savoie, in eastern France.

Worldwide, the Wuhan coronavirus has killed more than 700 people since it first emerged in a Chinese market at the end of last year.

Official Chinese figures show there are more than 34,500 people infected in the country. Outside mainland China, more than 340 infections have been reported in nearly 30 other places.

'Recovered' patients could be released

France’s Director-General of Health, Jérôme Salomon, indicated Friday that “several” coronavirus patients who had showed signs of recovery could be released from hospital in the coming days.

The patients would need to undergo "at least two tests", to be performed 24 hours apart, to ensure the patients were no longer contagious.

Meanwhile 38 French nationals are on Sunday to be repatriated from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the epidemic, on a British flight.

They will be placed in confinement for 14 days in Aix-en-Provence, joining 78 others who arrived earlier this month.

There is still grave concern for the wellbeing of France’s sickest Coronavirus patient, an 80-year-old Chinese man who has been in intensive care in a Paris hospital for the past 10 days.

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