France COVID-19 timeline shifts weeks earlier in wake of new evidence

WION Web Team
Paris, Ile-de-France, France Published: May 05, 2020, 09:59 AM(IST)

Coronavirus in France Photograph:( AFP )

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The said patient was a 42-year-old man born in Algeria, who lived in France for many years, and worked as a fishmonger.  The man had not been to China, and one of his children had also been sick.

Doctors at a Paris hospital have said they found evidence that one patient admitted in December was infected with coronavirus. This stands to prove that the deadly virus was already circulating in Europe at that time -- well before the first known cases were diagnosed in France or hotspot Italy.

A team at Groupe Hospitalier Paris Seine in Saint-Denis has written its finding in a study published on Sunday in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents.

The first official reports of COVID-19 in France were reported on January 24, in two people who had a history of travel to Wuhan, China.

The researchers then decided to check the records of earlier patients, in case the virus had been spreading undetected.

The French team looked at people admitted to the hospital with flu-like illness between December 2 and January 16 who were not ultimately diagnosed with influenza. They tested frozen samples from those patients for coronavirus.

The said patient was a 42-year-old man born in Algeria, who lived in France for many years, and worked as a fishmonger.  The man had not been to China, and one of his children had also been sick.

His last trip was in Algeria during August 2019.

Europe did not start reporting cases of coronavirus until January. In Italy, the European country hit hardest by the virus, the first two cases were reported on January 31, in two Chinese tourists in Rome. The first known community transmission was recorded at the end of February in Codogno, northern Italy.

Researchers in the US have also started finding evidence that the virus was infecting and killing people earlier than the country's first reported cases.

Also read | US coronavirus timeline shifts three weeks earlier in wake of new disclosure

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