coronavirus outbreak

Tests on two possible cases of coronavirus in Spain come back negative

Both the people under observation have recently arrived from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of the outbreak. The Health Ministry said the risk of infection is very low

Passengers arriving at Los Angeles airport on Wednesday.
Passengers arriving at Los Angeles airport on Wednesday.MARK RALSTON / AFP

The Spanish Health Ministry announced on Friday that two people in the country were under observation for symptoms of coronavirus. Both of them had recently arrived in Spain from the center of the current outbreak, the Chinese city of Wuhan. But later on Friday afternoon there was confirmation that tests on both the people had come back negative.

“One of them has a very low probability [of having the disease], because the clinical characteristics are on the limit. And there is another which we are considering ruling out, because the incubation period has passed. There is no likelihood that they will test positive,” said the director of the Health Ministry’s Center for the Coordination of Health Emergencies, Fernando Simón, before the test results were known.

We are in flu season: any symptoms, even if you have traveled from the area, are likely to be flu

Fernando Simón, Center for the Coordination of Health Emergencies

Simón added that the Spanish health authorities have “low, but active, concerns” about the arrival of the virus in the country. The official went on to explain that a protocol is being prepared to deal with the pathogen.

“The population should have a very low risk perception,” he told reporters. “If you are coming from Wuhan and you have symptoms, you should calmly head to your doctor. But we are in flu season: any symptoms, even if you have traveled from the area, are likely to be flu,” he said.

The Spanish government is not currently planning on taking any special measures at the country’s airports, given that there are no direct flights from Wuhan to Spain, and what’s more, in Simón’s words, this kind of measure “has not proven to be effective.” For now, only countries that have a direct air connection with the Chinese city are implementing such protocols.

The coronavirus has already caused 26 deaths and sickened 900 people in China, and more infections have been discovered in just over a dozen countries among people who recently traveled to the city, where a travel lock-down is in effect.

English version by Simon Hunter.

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