Additional European countries report coronavirus cases since Jan. 2020. Local transmission in some areas; maintain basic health precautions.

Severity: Warning Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Andorra
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • North Macedonia
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Ireland
  • United Kingdom
  • San Marino

This alert began 05 Mar 2020 00:20 GMT and is scheduled to expire 07 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): imported cases, local transmission
  • Affected Area(s): Western Europe (map)
  • Period: January-March 2020

Summary
Several countries and territories in western Europe have identified imported cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and in some instances, human-to-human transmission from those imported cases. Some countries provide more detailed location information than others. As of March. 4, the following countries and territories have identified confirmed COVID-19 cases:

Local disease transmission

  • Italy: 2,706 cases reported nationwide. Most local transmission reported in Lombardy (1,820 cases) Emilia Romagna (544 cases) and Veneto (360 cases); US CDC maintains an "Alert-Level 3" travel health notice, the highest of three levels that indicates authorities recommend avoiding nonessential travel to the country

 

  • France: 212 cases reported throughout the country. Localized outbreaks reported in Oise department in northeast France and Haut-Savoie near the Swiss border

 

  • Germany: 262 cases. More than half of cases are reported in North Rhine-Westphalia. Bavaria and Baden-Wurtemberg also heavily affected
  • Spain: 200 cases reported among Galicia, Madrid, Barcelona, Catalonia, and Valencia, Imported cases in Mallorca and the Canary Islands
  • UK: 85 cases reported, including Northern Ireland and Scotland
  • Switzerland: 58 cases reported among the following cantons: Aargau, Baselland, Basel-Stadt, Bern, Freiburg, Geneva, Graubünden, Neuchâtel, Schwyz, Ticino, Vaud, Valais, Zug, Zurich, and from the Principality of Liechtenstein
  • Norway: 33 cases among Viken, Vestland, Agder, Oslo, Toms of Finnmark, and Rogaland
  • Netherlands: 38 cases, primarily in southern areas
  • Sweden: 24 cases
  • Croatia: 9 cases
  • Denmark: 8 cases
  • San Marino: 8 cases
  • Finland: 7 cases
  • Greece: 7 cases reported, primarily in Athens and Thessaloniki
  • Romania: 4 cases


Imported cases only

  • Austria: 29 cases, primarily in Vienna
  • Iceland: 16 cases
  • Belgium: 8 cases
  • Czech Republic: 5 cases
  • Estonia: 2 cases
  • Ireland: 2 cases
  • Portugal: 2 cases imported in Porto
  • Andorra: 1 case
  • Latvia: 1 case
  • Lithuania: 1 case
  • Luxembourg: 1 case
  • North Macedonia: 1 case imported in Skopje
  • Poland: 1 case



Background and Analysis
Health authorities expect cases of this disease to increase as surveillance continues globally. Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission is occurring, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

On Jan. 30, the WHO declared the ongoing outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). This indicates COVID-19 requires a coordinated international response, primarily due to the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems that would be ill-equipped to contain it.

Advice
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


Resources
WHO advice for international travel

WHO coronavirus knowledge base

US CDC Guidance for Businesses and Employers

US CDC Travel Health Notice for Italy

 

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