France Reports Second Coronavirus Infection as Tests Continue

France reported its second confirmed coronavirus-related infection today as an investigation to identify other potential cases went on in the northern part of the country.

The newly infected person shared the room with the first patient infected by the new coronavirus from April 27 to April 29, the French Health Ministry said in an e-mailed statement.

“This person, who had a prolonged and close contact with the first patient, is currently being hospitalized and isolated at the infectiology department of the regional university hospital of Lille” in northern France, the ministry said. Tests carried out on another suspected person were negative, it said.

France reported its first confirmed infection five days ago. The patient had traveled to the Middle East, where the first cases of the virus were reported last year, according to the World Health Organization. Her roommate, a doctor and a nurse have been hospitalized for tests in Valenciennes, in northern France, radio station France Info reported.

Coronaviruses are a family of pathogens that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, which sickened more than 8,000 people and killed 774 in 2002 and 2003, according to the WHO. While the new virus is related to the one that causes SARS, it appears far less transmissible, the WHO has said.

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