Swiss health officials give coronavirus quarantine update

The Diamond Princess cruise ship at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama, as seen on Friday Keystone / Franck Robichon

Those affected by coronavirus quarantine measures - which includes a boy in Switzerland and seven Swiss citizens abroad - are doing fine, Swiss health officials said on Friday. Some of them will be let out of quarantine soon.

This content was published on February 14, 2020 - 19:33

The ten-year-old boy from the canton of Neuchâtel, who has been quarantined at home due to possible infection – he came into contact in France with someone who tested positive for the virus – is expected to finish his isolation measures next Wednesday, said Virginie Masserey, head of infection control at the Federal Office of Public Health, during a weekly media briefing.

In total, around 250 people have been tested so far for the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Switzerland. But none of the samplesExternal link have tested positive, she added. 

Colleague Patrick Mathys said that there were no connected transmission chains outside China. “The risk of an uncontrolled spreading [or the virus] in Europe, and therefore in Switzerland, is weak,” he told reporters.

Global quarantine

The five Swiss nationals and three of their Chinese family members who were flown to the south of France from Wuhan, the centre of the outbreak in China, are well and will finish their quarantine in France at midnight on Saturday, said Serge Bavaud from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA). He added that six of them wanted to return to Switzerland, a journey which would take place overland by special bus, on Sunday.

+ Swiss citizens repatriated from Wuhan arrive in France

A Swiss couple who are on the quarantined cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, in Yokohama, were also in good health, Bavaud added.

“The FDFA is in contact with the couple and is sending them whatever they need via the Japanese authorities. It is up to the Japanese authorities to decide when the quarantine period on the ship will end,” a statement posted on the FDFA website on Friday afternoonExternal link said.

At the briefing, Mathys said that this was unlikely to be soon. Each new case put the quarantine period back to zero. By Friday, more than 200 cases had been diagnosed on board the ship. Patients are receiving treatment in Japan.

Overall in China, around 3,500 Swiss nationals are registered with Swiss representations, including in the affected Hubei region and in the city of Wuhan. The embassy and consulates are in contact with them and are provide support if wanted, the FDFA said.

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