The first confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV in Europe are not unexpected. Their identification proves that detection and confirmation of this novel virus is working in France, showing a high level of preparedness to prevent and control further infections.
French health authorities have confirmed three cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) virus in France since 24 January 2020. The first confirmed cases in Europe are not unexpected given the developments of the last few days with several 2019-nCoV cases reported in countries outside of China.
The fact that these cases were identified, proves that detection and confirmation of this novel virus is working in France, showing a high level of preparedness to prevent and control possible infections of 2019-nCoV.
Most EU countries have plans and measures in place to contain this kind of infections and Europe has well-equipped laboratories that can confirm probable cases in addition to hospitals that are prepared to treat patients accordingly. EU/EEA countries should ensure that timely and rigorous infection prevention and control measures (IPC) are applied around people diagnosed with 2019-nCoV. Such measures will keep the likelihood of further sustained spread in both healthcare and community settings low.
In the past, systematic implementation of infection prevention and control measures were effective in controlling both SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV.
ECDC is working with the EU/EEA Member States to ensure that they are prepared to manage any imported cases. ECDC is monitoring this event through epidemic intelligence activities, and provides risk assessments to guide EU Member States and the EU Commission in their response activities.
At this stage, it is likely that there will be more imported cases in Europe. Even if there are still many things unknown about 2019-nCoV, European countries have the necessary capacities to prevent and control an outbreak as soon as cases are detected.
ECDC will update its dedicated page with the recent developments in the course of the day with most recent confirmed data.