Human-to-human transmission of the lethal Wuhan virus outside of China, has now been reported and confirmed in Germany, Japan and Vietnam.
Yesterday (28 Jan), the German Health Ministry confirmed that three further cases of the new dangerous strain of coronavirus have been discovered in Bavaria, increasing the total number of patients in Germany to four.
German health officials said that the first person, a 33-year-old German, had contracted the virus from a Chinese colleague who had visited the company a week ago. The company in question was named as Webasto, which develops motor vehicle products, and is based in Stockdorf, near Munich.
Because the incubation period is believed to be unusually long — at up to two weeks — it is possible that the Chinese colleague had no symptoms at the time.
“There were a total of around 40 employees who have been determined to have been in contact with the [Chinese] woman,” a German health official said.
The Chinese woman came from Shanghai to Stockdorf for her training at the company’s headquarter on 19 Jan. The 33-year-old came into contact with her on 21 Jan. However, on her flight home on 23 Jan, the woman began to fall ill on the plane. She sought medical treatment after landing in China and tested positive for coronavirus.
When that information was relayed back to the German company, the 33-year-old also felt like he had flu and was subsequently tested positive for the virus too. Now, 3 more co-workers in Germany of the Chinese woman have been tested positive for the virus too.
Japanese driver infected with virus from Wuhan tourists
In the case of Japan, Japanese authorities confirmed yesterday that a Japanese man with no recent travel to China has contracted the Wuhan virus apparently after driving tourists visiting from Wuhan.
The man in his sixties from Nara in western Japan drove two groups of Wuhan tourists earlier in January and was hospitalised on 25 Jan with flu-like symptoms, the Japanese health ministry said.
A health ministry official confirmed that there was “no information” that the man had been anywhere in China recently, including Wuhan.
“If this is true then he might have been infected by tourists from Wuhan. And if so, this would be the first person-to-person transmission in Japan,” the official added.
Father comes back from Wuhan infecting son in Vietnam
Meanwhile, it was also reported yesterday that a 65-year-old Chinese man had infected his son in Vietnam.
Last Wednesday (22 Jan), the 65-year-old was admitted to Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. He had become ill with fever on 17 Jan, a total of 4 days after he and his wife had flown to Hanoi from Wuhan.
The couple’s healthy 27-year-old son had lived in Long An, a province 40 km southwest of Ho Chi Minh City, since October 2019 but had not been to Wuhan or had any known contact with any person returning from there except his parents.
On 17 Jan, he met his father in Nha Trang in central Vietnam and shared a bedroom with his parents for 3 days in a hotel room. On 20 Jan, a dry cough and fever developed in the son. He also reported having had vomiting and loose stools.
When the son came to Cho Ray Hospital with his father, he already had a high fever (39°C). Both father and son were warded and subsequently tested positive for the Wuhan virus.
The family had traveled to four cities across Vietnam using various forms of transportation, including planes, trains, and taxis. A total of 28 close contacts have been identified by Vietnamese authorities.
In Singapore, so far, no human-to-human transmission has been reported. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called Singaporeans to remain calm, practise good hygiene and avoid spreading false rumours.