‘Around 40’ may have been exposed to Gothenburg coronavirus patient

'Around 40' may have been exposed to Gothenburg coronavirus patient
The infectious disease clinic in Gothenburg, where the man is being treated. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT
Around 40 people may have been exposed to a patient who is being treated for the coronavirus in Gothenburg, after he returned to Sweden from a trip to northern Italy.
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The man, who is in his 30s, came down with fever and respiratory symptoms three days after returning to Sweden from Italy, where more than 500 cases have been confirmed.

He is said to have contacted health services himself and drove to hospital in his own car after testing positive. He is currently being treated in Sahlgrenska University Hospital's infectious disease clinic in Gothenburg.

“He is doing well under the circumstances. You can have infected people isolated at home as long as they're feeling well, but it is good to keep an eye on it,” head physician Per Karlsson told TT on Thursday.

Swedish health authorities believe they have been able to identify everyone who has been in close contact with the man – around 40.

Those people are now to stay in daily contact with health services for two weeks, and if they show symptoms they will be tested for the coronavirus.

Some people thought to be high-risk contacts have been advised not to go to work, so that they don't risk spreading the virus.

Asked why not everyone is tested, infectious disease doctor Thomas Wahlberg told TT: “A negative test result during the incubation period does not rule out that a person could fall ill a day later. The test is only a snapshot.”


The risk of contracting the coronavirus in Sweden is still believed to be small. Around 300 people have so far been tested for the coronavirus in Sweden and all tests apart from two – the latest case in Gothenburg and a woman in Jönköping on January 31st who self-quarantined after a trip to China – have come back negative.

Sweden's Public Health Agency on Tuesday raised its risk level for the virus spreading in Sweden from “very low” to “low”, and upgraded the risk of people being detected in Sweden after catching it abroad to “high”.

However, it is important to note that the vast majority of patients recover.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), around 80 percent of people who contract the new coronavirus recover without needing special treatment.

Around one out of every six people who gets the coronavirus, or COVID-19 as the virus is also known, becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.

Only around two percent of cases are fatal. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.

The coronavirus is primarily spread through airborne contact, and the symptoms include a cough, headache, fatigue, fever, aching and difficulty breathing.

If you think you have the illness, do not go to hospital or your doctor's surgery. Swedish health authorities are worried about potentially infected people turning up at hospitals and passing on the virus. Instead, call Sweden's national health advice hotline 1177.

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