France has confirmed its first two cases of the Wuhan coronavirus, with one patient being hospitalised in Paris and the other in the southwestern city of Bordeaux.
Health Minister Agnes Buzyn told a news conference today these were the first two confirmed cases in Europe and that more cases were likely to occur in France.
Earlier, the charity SOS Medecins said it had treated a patient of Chinese origin who was showing symptoms of a fever and who said he had been in contact with people from Wuhan province in China, epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
Buzyn said this patient was 48 years old and had returned two days ago from a trip to China which included a stop in Wuhan.
"He's been put in an insulated room so as to avoid any contact with the outside world. He's fine", she said.
Buzyn said she had no information yet on the second case, in Paris, which had just been confirmed.
The newly discovered virus has killed 26 people and infected more than 800. Most of the cases and all of the deaths so far have been in China, where officials have imposed severe restrictions on travel and public gatherings.
The virus has created alarm, but there are still many unknowns surrounding it, such as just how dangerous it is and how easily it spreads between people. It can lead to pneumonia, which has been deadly in some cases.
The World Health Organization on Thursday declared the virus an "emergency in China", but stopped short of declaring it a global health emergency.
Buzyn said the official advice to those suspecting they might have caught the virus was not to go to hospital - to avoid spreading it - but to call a special number where they would be told what to do.
The minister said she planned to hold daily press conferences on the issue.
China has expanded its lockdown against a deadly new virus to an unprecedented 36 million people and rushed to build a prefabricated hospital for victims as the outbreak cast a pall over Lunar New Year, the country’s biggest holiday.
China ramped up measures to contain a virus that has killed 26 people and infected more than 800, suspending public transport in 10 cities, shutting temples over the Lunar New Year and even closing the Forbidden City and part of the Great Wall.
London's main index rebounded sharply on Friday as investor nerves were eased after the World Health Organisation issued a measured assessment of the new coronavirus in China, though Just Eat slid on a probe of its buyout by Takeaway.com.