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28 Feb 2020 | 02:14 PM UTC

Germany: Heinsberg district (North Rhine-Westphalia state) placed under quarantine February 28 /update 5

Residents of Heinsberg district (North Rhine-Westphalia state) placed under quarantine February 28 amid ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak; further spread of the virus expected

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transportation
DEU

Event

Approximately one thousand residents in Heinsberg district (North Rhine-Westphalia state) have been placed under quarantine as of Friday, February 28, as the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) worsens in Germany. According to health authorities, schools and nurseries were closed across the district and residents have been instructed to stay in their homes.

As of Friday, 26 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Germany bringing the country's total number of confirmed cases to 53. To date, Germany has not reported any related fatalities.

Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected in the coming days and weeks.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the COVID-19 outbreak is a "very grave threat."

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water  
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands  
  • If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider
  • Adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments

In the case that symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness emerge either during or after travel, travelers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid potential spread of the disease.