March 4, 2020 / 9:51 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Slovenia confirms first case of coronavirus -health minister

(Adds quotes, details from health officials)

LJUBLJANA, March 4 (Reuters) - Slovenia confirmed its first case of coronavirus, Health Minister Ales Sabeder told a news conference on Wednesday.

He said the patient had travelled home to Slovenia from Morocco through neighbouring Italy and was now in isolation in a Ljubljana hospital. So far Slovenia has performed 352 coronavirus tests.

“It looks like this is an imported case, it seems that the person was infected in Morocco,” Maja Socan from the National Institute of Public Health told the same news conference.

“Some days have passed since the patient has returned to Slovenia ... so we have to identify who the person was in contact with ... to prevent the spread of the infection,” she added.

So far Slovenia has prepared hospital isolation rooms and urged citizens to be particularly careful with hygiene. Many hospitals have prohibited or limited visitations in recent days.

The global outbreak of a new coronavirus that began last December in China has spread to nearly 80 countries and territories, killing more than 3,000 people. (Reporting by Marja Novak; Editing by Sandra Maler and Grant McCool)

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