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Coronavirus: Outbreak spreads in Europe from Italy

Coronavirus: Outbreak spreads in Europe from Italy

Several European countries have announced their first coronavirus cases, with all appearing to be linked to the growing outbreak in Italy.

Austria, Croatia and Switzerland all reported cases involving people who had recently been to Italy, as did Algeria in North Africa.

Italy has in recent days become Europe’s worst-affected country, with more than 300 cases and 11 deaths.

But its neighbours have decided closing borders would be “disproportionate”.

Health ministers from France, Germany, Italy and the EU Commission committed to keeping frontiers open at a meeting on Tuesday as new cases of the virus emerged throughout Europe and in central and southern Italy.

“We’re talking about a virus that doesn’t respect borders,” said Italian health minister Roberto Speranza.

His German counterpart Jens Spahn said the neighbours were taking the situation “very, very seriously” but acknowledged “it could get worse before it gets better”.

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