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Hungary, Slovenia report first coronavirus cases

  • News Desk

    Agence France-Presse

Budapest, Hungary   /   Thu, March 5, 2020   /   08:26 am
Hungary, Slovenia report first coronavirus cases Members of the Airport Medical Service take temperature readings from staff members with a digital thermometer at Budapest's Liszt Ferenc Airport on February 5, 2020 during a presentation for the press. The international airport prepared special control measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The outbreak that has infected over 24,000 people and killed nearly 500 in mainland China has forced many stores and factories to close and airlines to cancel flights. (AFP/Attila Kisbenedek)

Hungary and Slovenia reported their first confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday in two Iranian students and a third patient who recently travelled back from Morocco via Italy. 

"Two patients have been taken into medical care due to coronavirus infections," Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a Facebook video message.

"Two foreigners, students studying in Hungary, Iranians, they are currently symptom-free it seems, but confirmed as infected," he said.

Dr Janos Szlavik at the Central Hospital of Southern Pest told reporters at a news conference that both patients had visited family in Iran recently and that their roommates were being taken into quarantine.

Authorities were making efforts to establish their travel history within Hungary and who they had been in contact with, Szlavik said.

In neighbouring Slovenia, Health Minister Ales Sabeder told reporters the country's first case involved a "patient, aged around 60 who returned from Morocco via Italy" a few days ago.

The patient had visited a family doctor before being tested and was currently in hospital in the capital Ljubljana, he added.

While caseloads have steadily declined in the virus epicentre China, infections and deaths are rising in Asia and Europe, with cases appearing in new countries almost every day.

More than 90,000 people have been infected and around 3,200 have died worldwide from the virus, the vast majority in China where COVID-19 first emerged late last year. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has so far stopped short of declaring a pandemic, though has said the world must prepare for the possibility.  

The virus has reached over 80 countries and territories around the world, with South Korea, Iran and Italy emerging as hotspots outside China.