German authorities say man with virus in critical condition

BERLIN (AP) — Authorities in western Germany said yesterday that a man who contracted COVID-19 is in critical condition and has been taken to a specialist hospital in Duesseldorf.

The Health Ministry of North Rhine-Westphalia state said the man was first hospitalised on Monday with serious pneumonia in the town of Erkelenz near the Dutch border.

He was diagnosed with the new virus and isolated in an intensive care unit before being transported to Duesseldorf’s University Hospital. The man’s wife was also isolated on suspicion of contracting the virus after showing symptoms.

German news agency reported that the man was in his 40s and had a pre-existing condition.

Stephan Pusch, who heads the district administration in Heinsberg, where Erkelenz is located, said yesterday schools and kindergartens in the area would remain shut. He urged people who display symptoms of illness to stay at home and contact their doctors by phone.

Meanwhile, Dutch health officials said they were tracing the movements of the German man after learning that he visited the southern province of Limburg last week.

The national public heath institute tweeted that the local health authority is seeking to trace anybody who came into contact with the man.

“If these contacts develop symptoms, they will be isolated and tested,” the institute said.

Medical staff carry the first person infected with the coronavirus in the German state of North Rhine Westphalia into the University Hospital in Duesseldorf, Germany, yesterday. PHOTO: AP