Hungary confirms first two coronavirus cases

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary on Wednesday confirmed its first two cases of the new coronavirus, both Iranian students in the country.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on his Facebook page: “We have the first infected individual, or rather two right away, whom we had to hospitalize.

“They have no symptoms yet but the fact of the infection has been confirmed.”

Iran has been one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus outside China, where the outbreak originated late last year.

The students had traveled home for the Iranian new year, and one of them reported for a health check once back in Hungary to make sure he was not infected, Janos Szlavik, the head of the national institute for infectious diseases, said.

Szlavik declined to say which school the students attend.

The wife of one of the students and the girlfriend of the other were isolated, he said, adding Hungary was assessing their movements before the diagnosis and any risk of further contagion.

The epidemic spread further around the world on Wednesday, with confirmed cases approaching 100,000 globally. Italy weighed possible closure of all schools, cultural centers and most public events, while economists warned of growth consequences.

Reporting by Marton Dunai; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Janet Lawrence