The first COVID-19 case in Switzerland has been confirmed in the southern part of the country bordering Italy, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) said on Tuesday.
The male patient, who was in his 70s and from Ticino canton bordering Italy, was in Italy on Feb. 15 to attend an event near Milan, and the first symptoms appeared two days later, according to FOPH. His infection was confirmed in a lab test in Geneva.
The patient, having remained with his family ever since, is now in isolation at a clinic in Lugano, Ticino canton.
FOPH said that cantonal and federal authorities will identify other people who may have been in contact with the patient in order to quarantine and monitor them for the next 14 days.
According to FOPH,
this first COVID-19 case in Switzerland does not change the risk assessment — COVID-19 currently represents only a moderate risk for the Swiss population.
Medical establishments in the country are ready to carry out early detection and diagnostic examination of suspected cases as well as to care for other sick people.
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According to the Swiss Interior Ministry, around 300 suspected COVID-19 cases have so far been tested in Switzerland, without any confirmed cases until now.
FOPH officials said there were currently 70 suspected cases being tested in Switzerland, including several in the cantons of Bern and Basel, but only a small number in Ticino canton. Test results will be known in the coming hours.
The Swiss authorities announced Monday that
they were beefing up measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 from neighboring Italy, and that the situation in Switzerland is under control.
FOPH said Swiss Federal Councilor Alain Berset met in Rome with the health ministers of Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Croatia and Slovenia on Tuesday to strengthen cross-border collaboration to combat the spread of the coronavirus.