Three people in France have tested positive for coronavirus, representing the first confirmed cases of the disease in Europe, French authorities said.
The country’s Health Minister Agnes Buzyn announced two cases at a news conference, and a third case was confirmed hours later.
Buzyn said that French medical specialists have developed a rapid diagnosis test for the disease and explained this is likely to be why the first European cases have been verified in the country.
“We identified the first positive cases very quickly,” she said. “You have to treat an epidemic as you would a fire, that’s to say find the source very quickly.”
Buzyn said one of the patients is a 48-year-old French man who traveled to China on business and passed through Wuhan, where the outbreak of the virus is believed to have originated.
“He’s been put in an insulated room so as to avoid any contact with the outside world. He’s fine,” she said.
French authorities said two of the three infected people belonged to the same family.
As of Friday night, Chinese officials said the disease has killed 41 people and infected more than 1,200.
Two cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the United States on Friday, and the virus has been reported in several Asian nations outside China, including South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.