ECDC statement following reported confirmed case of 2019-nCoV in Germany

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German health authorities confirmed a case of 2019-nCoV in Bavaria on 27 January. This brings the cases reported in Europe to four. The cases in France had a direct link to Wuhan, China.

Based on current information, the infection in Germany followed a close contact with a visitor from China during a stay in Germany (diagnosed with 2019-nCoV after return to China) who had previously been visited by relatives from the Wuhan area. The German authorities are investigating this case and taking the necessary steps to trace and inform any contacts. 

At this stage of the on-going outbreak in the Hubei province in China, it is likely that there will be more imported cases in Europe. As a consequence, it could be expected to see (limited) local transmission in Europe. A single detected case in Europe does not change the overall picture for Europe, nor does it change the assessment that there is currently a moderate likelihood of importation of cases of 2019-nCoV to the EU/EEA. As more and more cases are reported globally, this also increases the probability of sporadically imported cases to EU/EEA countries.

Based on this, EU/EEA countries should ensure that timely and rigorous infection prevention and control measures (IPC) are applied around any detected nCoV cases in the EU/EEA, in order to prevent further spread in the community and healthcare settings. Healthcare workers in the EU/EEA need to be aware and vigilant in order to detect possible nCoV cases early and apply appropriate infection control measures when handling patients.

Right now, the focus still should be on the development of the outbreak in China and the related information on the characteristics of the virus.

The source of infection is unknown and could still be active. Human-to-human transmission has been confirmed but more information is needed to evaluate the full extent of this mode of transmission and understanding how the virus spreads. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, ECDC is revising its risk assessment for Europe.