Switzerland confirmed its first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) on Tuesday, February 25. According to health officials, the infected individual is located in Ticino canton and tested positive for the virus after traveling near Milan on February 15. The man is being treated in isolation at a hospital; anyone who has come into contact with him will be quarantined for 14 days and tested for the virus. However, authorities said that the individual is in good health and that the risk of further spread in Switzerland is “moderate.”
Authorities did not immediately implement any new health measures after the case was confirmed. However, testing for patients with flu-like symptoms is being increased and the government said it is working to raise awareness at all border points.
Further international spread of COVID-19 is to be expected over the near term.
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 more than 30 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 by 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 the 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, individuals are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider. Travelers returning from China, South Korea, Italia or Iran who develop symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the spread of the disease.