Bratislava, Slovakia – The first case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in Slovakia by Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini, a day after the Visegrad Four leadership vowed to “use all measures” to fight the viral outbreak.
“A patient aged 52 was confirmed today. He has been hospitalised at the infectology clinic of the University Hospital in Bratislava,” Pellegrini said, according to local sources.
While the man, who has only mild symptoms of the disease had not travelled abroad recently, Pellegrini added that that his son, who had shown no symptoms, had been in Venice.
After the Czech Republic on Sunday and Poland and Hungary on Wednesday, all four Central European countries now have reported cases of the virus. The Czech Republic now have 12, Hungary four, Poland and Slovakia one.
At an “exceptional” Visegrad Four meeting held in Prague in mid-week, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated that the four heads of government had reviewed the risks and protective measures, and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš assured that the four countries will exchange information and coordinate possible “extraordinary measures”.
As a result of the outbreak, Slovakia and Hungary may be forced to play their March 26 Euro 2020 play-offs behind closed doors if the coronavirus continues to spread.
In this context, it is important to stay well informed and to remember that panic and misinformation can cause as much damage as the virus itself. As the virus, still not entirely understood by scientists, continues to spread across Europe, fake news reports have perpetuated global panic about the speed of its spread and its mortality rate.
In fact, many of those who contract coronavirus will experience only mild symptoms and most people are expected to make a full recovery. However, it can pose a particular risk for elderly people and those with pre-existing problems such as diabetes or cancer, or weak immune systems.
Authorities have confirmed more than 92,000 cases of the virus worldwide of which more than 80,000 are in China. More than 3,000 people have died globally, the vast majority in China.
As always during flu season, it is important to maintain good hygiene and use common sense:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.