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Swiss authorities confirm first case of coronavirus

ZURICH (Reuters) - A 70-year old man tested positive for the coronavirus in the southern canton of Ticino, on the border with Italy, Swiss health authorities said on Tuesday, confirming its first case.

“The infected person was in Italy about ten days ago and participated in an event near Milano,” the Swiss health ministry said in a statement.

Officials told a media conference it was not clear at which event the man had been infected. People the man had been in contact with were currently being identified and put in quarantine for 14 days.

Europe’s biggest outbreak is currently in Italy, with more than 280 infections and seven deaths. It began spreading on Tuesday from its origins in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto, to central Tuscany, the coastal region of Liguria and Sicily in the south.

Swiss authorities said results of 70 tests were expected within the next hours, from Ticino, but also from the central and northern cantons of Berne and Basel. They said it was not necessary at this stage to take further measures, such as closing schools.

New measures would be considered if authorities had the impression that virus transmission was not under control.

The new virus has already killed more than 2,600 people, most of them in China, and spread to about 30 other countries, according to a Reuters tally. The number of confirmed cases has risen to 80,147.

Austria also confirmed its first two cases on Tuesday.

Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz, Oliver Hirt and Paul Arnold; Editing by Emma Farge

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