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UPDATE: First case of coronavirus in Poland

04.03.2020 12:45
The first case of coronavirus infection has been confirmed in Poland, the country’s health minister said on Wednesday.
Polish Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski holds a news conference in Warsaw on Wednesday.
Polish Health Minister Łukasz Szumowski holds a news conference in Warsaw on Wednesday.Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak

Łukasz Szumowski told reporters that the infected patient, a resident of Poland’s western Lubuskie province, was “feeling well” and undergoing treatment at a hospital in the city of Zielona Góra.

"This is not a group of people, but a single person," Szumowski said at an impromptu news conference in Warsaw.

He added that the infected man had recently traveled to Germany, where around 240 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, according to data cited on Wednesday by public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency.

"The patient is feeling well,” Szumowski told reporters. "His family and those who had contact with him are in quarantine" in their homes.

Szumowski appealed to the media to respect the patient's privacy.

"Let's not put pressure on him or his family because after all he is a sick person who needs peace and quiet," he said.

Szumowski said the patient was not a senior citizen. The man "is not from a very high-risk group," he added.

When asked about the patient's symptoms, Szumowski said: “The symptoms are always similar, including a cough and a high fever, well over 38 degrees [Celsius]—flu-like symptoms.”

He added that the patient contacted a family doctor after observing such symptoms.

'All procedures worked as they should'

Szumowski said: "Everything went by the book: the patient made contact with a family doctor; the family doctor conducted an interview and decided there was a high risk of illness and recommended contacting the sanitary service; the sanitary service recognised that this was a high-risk case; a special ambulance for transporting high-risk patients was used; the patient was taken to an infectious disease hospital and provided with medical care.”

Szumowski also told reporters that “all procedures worked as they should in this case.”

He said that more than 560 tests have been performed for the presence of the coronavirus in Poland so far.

A total of 68 people were under observation in hospitals for suspected coronavirus infection, and about 500 others have been quarantined, Szumowski added.

"These numbers will change fast because we have many suspected cases," he said.

Polish lawmakers this week approved a set of special rules to help the country fend off the threat posed by the new Covid-19 virus, which emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year and has since spread to more than 80 countries.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told deputies during a special session of Poland’s parliament on Monday that his country was prepared to deal with an outbreak and urged Poles not to panic.

Morawiecki on Wednesday met with his counterparts from three other Central European countries to discuss ways of tackling the coronavirus threat.

The Covid-19 virus has now infected more than 93,000 people globally, and several thousand have died from the flu-like illness, news media reported on Wednesday.

On Friday, European Union health ministers are scheduled to gather for a special meeting in Brussels to discuss the coronavirus outbreak in Europe.

The meeting will be held in response to a request by Poland’s Szumowski, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency has reported.


Source: PAP, IAR