A man in his 70s in the canton of Ticino has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, according to a statement by Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).
The man, who has been isolated in a clinic in the city of Lugano, is the first person in Switzerland to have tested positive for the virus.
The man had spent time in Italy attending an event near Milan on 15 February 2020, according to RTS.
He displayed symptoms two days later, according to Pascal Strupler, the director of FOPH. A viral testing clinic in Geneva confirmed the infection this afternoon. The man is reportedly faring well.
Over the last week, Italy has jumped from a handful of cases to 322 cases (9pm on 25 February 2020). Italy now trails only China, South Korea and the Diamond Princess cruise ship for the number of recorded cases of infection.
A webpage showing the number of cases around the world can be viewed here.
At the end of today around 70 tests from patients in Switzerland were still being analysed in Geneva. Several were from people in Bern, Basel and Ticino.
The tests are first done locally and then sent to Geneva for final confirmation. Local tests typically take 2 hours.
A hotline has been set up and a campaign explaining hygiene measures will be launched soon. The hotline (+41 58 463 00 00) is open daily from 8am until 6pm.
FOPH recommends regular hand washing with soap and water or hand sanitiser. In addition, it recommends sneezing into a paper tissue or the crook of your arm – sneezing into your hands risks spreading the virus. If you think you might have caught the virus, contact your doctor, first by phone.
Switzerland’s borders remain open, according to FOPH.
The coronavirus epidemic started in China in December and probably originated at a wet market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan where bats, fish, snakes and other wild animals were traded. The virus was initially transmitted from animals to humans before being transmitted from person to person, scientists think.
Globally, around 80,000 people are known to have been infected and around 2,700 have died from the virus (25 February 2020).