The five of those who were diagnosed with the virus are believed to be British, according to Health Minister Agnes Buzyn, bringing the total number of people confirmed with the virus in France to 11.
The new cases were identified in the Alpine resort town of Contamines-Montjoie near Mont Blanc.
The French authorities added that the suspected cases were those of British citizens who stayed there in late January and was later confirmed to have the virus after returning to Britain.
French authorities are working with international partners to trace everyone who was in close contact with the British person and with the newly infected people in France.
Ms Buzyn said the group of newly-infected people with the virus formed “a cluster, a grouping around one original case.”
“That original case was brought to our attention last night, it is a British national who had returned from Singapore where he had stayed between January 20 and 23, and he arrived in France on January 24 for four days,” she said.
The French authorities has brought hundreds of people from European and African countries back from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. Those who stayed in France are in quarantine.
Also as reported by Associated Press, U.S. Embassy in Beijing says a 60-year-old American citizen who was diagnosed with the new virus died in Wuhan, apparently the first American fatality of the outbreak.
The embassy said in a brief statement Saturday that the American was confirmed to have been infected by the coronavirus and died at a hospital in Wuhan, the center of the outbreak. It said it would have no further comment out of respect for the family’s privacy.
China announced that the death toll on the mainland increased to 722 on Saturday, including the American. It said 3,399 more people had been diagnosed with the virus over the last 24 hours, reversing two days of declines, raising the total number of cases on the mainland to 34,546.
The latest figures reported by global health authorities as of Saturday in Beijing:
— China: 722 deaths and 34,546 confirmed cases on the mainland. In addition, Hong Kong has had 25 cases, including one death. Macao has had 10 cases. Most of the deaths have been in central Hubei province, where illnesses from the new type of coronavirus were first detected in December.
— Japan: 89
— Singapore: 33
— Thailand: 32
— South Korea: 24
— Taiwan: 16
— Malaysia: 16
— Australia: 14
— Germany: 14
— Vietnam: 13
— United States: 12. Separately, one U.S. citizen died in China.
— France: 11
— United Arab Emirates: 7
— Canada: 6
— Philippines: 3 cases, including 1 death
— United Kingdom: 3
— India: 3
— Italy: 3
— Britain: 3
— Russia: 2
— Belgium: 1
— Nepal: 1
— Sri Lanka: 1
— Sweden: 1
— Spain: 1
— Cambodia: 1
— Finland: 1
In Nigeria and Africa in general, there is no confirm case or cases of the Coronavirus, as citizens fear the worse as the risk of an outbreak is high, which could be disastrous if not quickly rampped up.
This is so because, given the delapidated health facilities in some African countries, especially the absence medical labs, like we saw during the Ebola virus, Africa although yet to record any case, could be worse hit if eventually there is an outbreak.
But those who successfully battled and defeated the dread Ebola should have a first hand experience as to how to curtail such virus should a case is confirmed.
The Nigerian Government has assured citizens that it is prepared to combat the deadly Coronavirus in the advent of an outbreak in the country and urged non-stigmatization of infected persons should the case arises.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, who stated this yesterday in Abuja at a one-day sensitisation programme on the spread of Coronavirus and Lassa fever, said that rumours about the spread of the disease should be avoided.
“We have been informed by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control that they have set up their response centres and that they are mounting surveillance. Medical personnel have also been put on standby to attend to any emerging issue.
“What we are doing today is the responsibility of management to create awareness within our workforce. The issue of stigmatisation should be reduced to the barest minimum. No fiction, no rumours, science and facts are what we want to deal with,” he said.
Mustapha, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, General Services Office, Mr. Olusegun Adekunle, urged members of staff of the OSGF to take the precautionary measures seriously to remain safe.
The Head, Response Division in the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr. Olaolu Aderinola, had earlier noted that the virus, which has so far spread across 23 countries, is yet to enter Nigeria, urging Nigerians not to stigmatise Chinese residents in the country.
He also warned against misinformation on the virus, especially on the social media, adding that the NCDC is co-ordinating a Coronavirus preparedness group to respond to any possible outbreak.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Dr. Zhou Pingjian, has disclosed that the closure of a Chinese supermarket in Abuja last week by officials of the Federal Government is not connected with the coronavirus but with some alleged trade malpractices of the retail outlet.
The supermarket, known as Panda and located in the Jabi District of Abuja, was closed by officials of the Federal Consumer Protection Commission as a precautionary measure in the wake of the ravaging virus.
Pinjiang, in a chat with editors in Abuja on Monday, said the decision to close the shop had nothing to do with coronavirus, which he said, was preventable, curable and controllable, saying that “there is no need to cause unnecessary panic and fear as proactive and concerted efforts by stakeholders are being taken to checkmate the disease.”
He also said that flights were not cancelled because of the virus but for lack of passengers.
He assured that his country with the support of World Health Organisation (WHO) and other countries are taking appropriate steps to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, also known as nCoV.
The ambassador, who disclosed that Chinese scientists had tentatively traced the source of the virus to bats, which infected humans with the disease, said that many Chinese nationals who travelled to celebrate the lunar year and who were expected back in Nigeria from February 2, 2020, stayed back because of restriction on travel from China and ease of access to medical CAS at home.
Pingjian expressed optimism that with the completion of a 1,000-bed hospital within nine days in Wuhan and another big one to provide emergency medical services to those who might be affected by the virus, the epidemic would be contained within a reasonable time but he did not specify when.