Coronavirus: five new cases in France are British nationals

The five new patients came into contact with a Briton who returned from Singapore on 24 January. Photograph: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Five British nationals including a child have been diagnosed with the coronavirus in France, after staying in the same ski chalet and coming into contact with a Briton who had been in Singapore, the French health minister said.

Agnès Buzyn said none of the patients were in a serious condition.

She described the new outbreak as a “cluster, grouping around one original case” and said it had occurred in the Haute Savoie region in the eastern French Alps.

“That original case was brought to our attention last night,” she said. “It is a British national who had returned from Singapore where he had stayed between 20 and 23 January, and he arrived in France on 24 January for four days.”

The Briton at the origin of the cluster had since returned to the UK.

The French prime minister, Édouard Philippe, called a meeting of health ministers on Saturday and the ministry has opened a hotline (0800 100 379) in an attempt to find out who else may have been in contact with the Britons.

“We’re starting an important operation to identify cases of those in contact,” Buzyn said.

The mayor of Contamines-Montjoie, Etienne Jacquet, said the 11 Britons in hospital in France had stayed at two separate chalets in the ski resort. The local health authority is disinfecting the two buildings and is searching for anyone who might have come in contact with the group.

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