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French hospital staff test negative for SARs-like virus


France’s health ministry said late Friday that three suspected infections of the new deadly SARs-like coronavirus tested negative, following the first confirmed case in the north of the country. Two additional suspected cases are still being studied.


France’s health minister said Saturday that the three suspected cases of a new SARS-like virus in northern France had tested negative, adding that two other cases needed further analysis.

The five people who were tested for the recently discovered deadly coronavirus, which so far has killed 18 people, mostly in the Middle East, had been in contact with an infected 65-year-old man – so far the only confirmed case in France.

The three people cleared of infection were medical staff of the Douai Hospital Centre, where the patient was initially treated. The two as yet still suspected cases are that of a man who had shared the same hospital room and another male who was described as a friend or relative.

The unnamed patient, who is thought to have been infected with the virus during a trip to the United Arab Emirates in April, has been moved to a specialised unit in the city of Lille. He is undergoing respiratory assistance and blood transfusions, doctors said.

French Health Minister Marisol Touraine told a press conference in Lille on Saturday morning that new results on the remaining suspected cases would be available by the end of the day.

The virus, known as nCoV-EMC, is related to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which started in Asia and swept through the world in 2003, killing 775 people.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

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