Germany ‘well-equipped’ to handle China virus – no cases so far

Wuerzburg, Germany (dpa) – Germany is well-prepared to handle the new coronavirus coming out of China, according to the head of tropical medicine at the Medical Mission Hospital in Wuerzburg, which has been contacted by numerous people fearing infection.

The “hundreds of worried people or perhaps thousands” in Germany are mostly travellers returning back home, August Stich told dpa. In most cases, the coronavirus can be excluded based on information such as the length of the trip and the disease’s incubation period.

“But the fear is there,” noted Stich, who also serves as chairman of the Medical Mission Institute in the southern German city.

The quick spread of infectious diseases is the price to be paid for modern lifestyles and globalization, according to the physician. He said the spread of the virus is not really unusual, but has to be handled professionally.

“What we do not need is panic among the population or irrational actions,” he said.

“You cannot prepare for everything,” he added. “But we are pretty well-equipped in Germany.”

So far, no Germans appear to have been infected with the new lung disease, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said on Friday in Berlin.

The ministry has advised travellers to postpone if possible any trips to the areas affected by the coronavirus.

It belongs to the same family of viruses that caused severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), a disease that infected 8,000 people and killed 800 globally in a 2002-03 pandemic that also started in China.

Cases of the disease have been reported in other Asian countries, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

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