Sixth coronavirus case in France as quarantine ongoing

Carry-le-Rouet, near Marseille, is accommodating 200 of the evacuated French nationals from Wuhan

A sixth case of the new “Wuhan” coronavirus has been confirmed in France, as hundreds of French citizens have been repatriated from China and are being quarantined in Provence.

The sixth case has been identified as a Paris doctor, who had seen a Chinese patient during a consultation in the capital. The patient later went back to Asia and was then diagnosed with the virus, which has been dubbed “Wuhan” after the Chinese city in which it originated.

As a result, as soon as the Paris doctor began to suffer virus-like symptoms, he sought medical care.

French health director general, professor Jérôme Salomon, said: “[The doctor] very quickly realised the seriousness of the situation, and as soon as the symptoms began, he isolated himself. He is in quarantine in a Paris hospital, and his clinical condition is not worrying.”

Professor Salomon added that full investigations were ongoing to assess the risk of potential transmission of the virus.

The news comes after more than 200 French citizens have been repatriated from the Wuhan province on a special flight, and are being cared for in quarantine sites across Bouches-du-Rhône (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur). Sites include a holiday centre, and a police school.

A second evacuation flight from Wuhan to France is scheduled “later in the week”, authorities said.

A statement from the Mairie in Carry-le-Rouet, location of one of the quarantine sites, said: “The holiday centre has 400 places, but we do not know how many people will be arriving. The State services have ordered us to do this.”

Repatriated people without symptoms will be “placed in separate bedrooms” with their families, according to regional prefect, Pierre Dartout. Everyone is being required to monitor their temperature and to wear masks, to prevent the spread of infection and stay alert to any potential new cases.

Professor Salomon said: “The requirements are pretty clear. We need a pleasant place, which has enough space.”

Another site in Aix-en-Provence, firefighter training school l’École nationale supérieure des officiers sapeurs-pompiers (Ensosp) is also expected to be made a quarantine centre, with students returning home ahead of the new residents’ arrival.

The mayor’s office said: “This site has been chosen because of its confinement ability. There are natural confinement spaces there, away from the main site, and there is also an airstrip.”

But the site may not be used after all, if it does not become necessary. Mr Dartout said: “It all depends on the number of people who arrive.”

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