Swiss coronavirus cases rise to nine as children placed in precautionary quarantine

  • World
  • Thursday, 27 Feb 2020

(Reuters) - The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Switzerland rose to nine on Thursday, as the canton of Basel-City put a number of children into a two-week quarantine after one of their caregivers tested positive for the virus.

A young woman who returned to work at a daycare facility after travelling to Milan has tested positive for the new coronavirus, authorities in Basel-City said late on Thursday.

"The young woman who resides in the canton of Basel-City is doing well given the circumstances," the region's health department said in a statement. "As a carer for children and young children working at a daycare in Riehen, she came into contact with many children. The health department is now making extensive checks in the patient's professional and personal environment accordingly."

The daycare facilities in the town of Riehen normally care for around 100 children, the authorities said, but due to ongoing holidays, only a portion of the children had been present in the facility and in close contact with the affected woman.

Another man who had been travelling with the woman also tested positive for the virus on Thursday, the authorities said, adding he resided in a different region, while outside of Basel, regional and national authorities on Thursday confirmed first cases in five further cantons.

In Vaud, a 49-year-old male cross-border worker residing in France was put into isolation following detection, while his wife was "highly suspected" of infection, local authorities said, adding they were working closely with their French counterparts.

In Zurich, a woman around age 30 tested positive for the virus, while in Aargau, a 26-year-old man was being treated in isolated care, both having travelled to northern Italy around one week before, local authorities said in separate statements.

The new coronavirus had mainly battered China, causing nearly 80,000 infections and more than 2,700 deaths, according to World Health Organization figures. It has spread to another 44 countries, where around 3,500 cases and 54 deaths have been reported.

The Swiss health authority earlier on Thursday said one person in Geneva and a couple in the southeastern Alpine canton of Grisons had tested positive for the virus, following a first case confirmed near the border to Italy on Tuesday.

These patients were all in isolated care in hospital and in good health condition, the Federal Office of Public Health said.

(Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi in Zurich and Thomas Seythal in Berlin; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Matthew Lewis)

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