Yesterday afternoon German health minister Jens Spahn went public and declared the spread of the corona virus in Germany to be the beginning of an epidemic. “Unfortunately, the situation has changed in the past few hours.” By then, more than twenty people had been infected with the virus, including an Air Force soldier. In the case of the new known persons, it was impossible to understand where they had been infected. The German media have been writing about the “virus epidemic” ever since. This morning the radio of “Antenne Bayern” was looking for people who had attended a certain Bavarian cinema last Saturday evening, which one infected person was visiting.
In addition to China, South Korea, Japan and Iran continue to be the worst affected countries worldwide, while in Europe it is still Italy with more than 400 patients. US President Donald Trump made his first public statement on the subject, compared the disease to the flu, and appointed Vice President Mike Pence to be responsible for the issue. In San Francisco there is now the first infected person in the USA with an unknown cause.
In Austria, in addition to the two first-infected people in Innsbruck, all suspected cases turned out to be negative. The first message of an affected Viennese came today at 10:30 in the morning. It is a 72 year old man who was taken into custody in a hospital. One tabloid has already before titled its report with the headline: “The total corona panic.”
In the Austrian political scene, government measures are excitedly being discussed. In particular, the short-term blocking of a school by the police caused great emotions. The Vienna City Councellor for Health called the action a “cowboy story”. When the children were allowed to go outside again, they were interviewed by public television: “We just chilled,” said the first student quite relaxed. And the second added: “Thank God there was no panic. But I think the parents were the most panicking.”
The Corona virus is here.