January 31, 2020 / 10:36 PM / 16 days ago

Spain confirms first case of coronavirus - Health Ministry

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain has confirmed the country’s first case of coronavirus after a man was diagnosed on the remote island of La Gomera in the Canaries, the Health Ministry said late on Friday.

The patient is part of a group of five people taken into observation on the island and isolated on Thursday after it was found some of them had come into contact with a German man diagnosed with the virus, the ministry said.

The diagnosis from Spain’s National Centre for Microbiology came shortly after a plane transporting a group of 27 EU nationals from the virus’s epicentre in the Chinese city of Wuhan landed in Madrid.

None of the repatriated Spaniards exhibited symptoms of the virus, but they will be quarantined at a military hospital in Madrid and held under observation for 14 days, the health ministry said.

Four Danish citizens and one Norwegian who were also aboard the plane will be flown back to their home countries.

Health Minister Salvador Illa will chair a ministerial meeting on Saturday to discuss Spain’s response to the outbreak, which has infected more than 9,000 people and killed more than 200 around the globe.

The World Health Organization declared the epidemic an international emergency on Thursday, with cases confirmed in nearly 20 countries, including the United States, Britain and Germany.

Reporting by Nathan Allen; Editing by Tom Brown; Editing by Sandra Maler and Tom Brown

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