Two Chinese tourists in Tallinn taken to hospital with coronavirus symptoms

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Wuhan coronavirus under the 2019-nCoV microscope.
Wuhan coronavirus under the 2019-nCoV microscope. Source: Tao Liu et al.

Two Chinese tourists with symptoms similar to those of the new coronavirus were taken by ambulance to West Tallinn Central Hospital (Lääne-Tallinna keskhaigla) on Friday. Checks by hospital staff later showed the couple had no symptoms and did not have the coronavirus.

The hospital said the tourists had not displayed any symptoms and there is no reason to panic about coronavirus in Estonia.

Eike Kingsepp, a media consultant with the Health Board, told ERR an inspection at the hospital revealed the two young people were healthy, did not have fevers and were discharged. 

The tourists were taken to hospital after the hotel staff where they were staying called an ambulance after suspecting the couple might be ill when they didn't show up often enough to eat breakfast and stayed in their room.

The tourists did not report the symptoms themselves and did not understand why they were called to the ambulance, but they followed the orders anyway.

The couple arrived in Europe on January 17, before coming to Estonia on January 28th they had traveled to several Scandinavian countries. They will leave Estonia as they had originally planned on Friday. 

Martin Kadai, head of the emergency department at the Health Board, said there was no reason to fear people from China. "The likelihood that a Chinese tourist visiting here will carry the virus is very low."

The Health Board stressed ambulance resources are limited and should be used wisely. "The fact that someone is from China does not justify suspecting the coronavirus," said Kingsepp.

Earlier on Friday, Kadai said in a statement (link in Estonian) two tourists who had symptoms which indicate they may carry the new coronavirus 2019-nCoV were taken to hospital in Tallinn for tests.

Delfi news portal reported (link in Estonian) they were staying at Tallinn's Schlössle Hotel in the Old Town. A hotel spokeswoman told a Delfi the Chinese couple in their 20s arrived at their hotel a few days ago but she did not know where they had come from in China.

As of Thursday, there were 7,824 laboratory-confirmed 2019-nCOV cases worldwide, including in 16 healthcare professionals. It is known that older people living or staying in China's high-risk area are currently at greater risk of serious health problems.

Coronaviruses were discovered in the 1960s and can infect humans as well animals and birds. The viruses affect the respiratory and gastrointestinal mucosa cells and spreads by airborne droplet infection and by faecal-oral transmission.

Known coronaviruses such as HCoV-OC43 beta-HC43 and HCoV-HKU1 and HCoV-229E alpha-coronavirus cause symptoms of viral infections of the upper respiratory tract as well as severe lung problems, in particular in the elderly and infants.

** This story was updated at 14:12 to include Eike Kingsepp's comments and again at 14:34 to add a comment from Martin Kadai.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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