News2020.02.27 09:45

Estonia reports first case of coronavirus

updated 2020.02.27 09:45

Estonia has reported its first confirmed case of the coronavirus on Wednesday evening. The affected person traveled on a Lux Express bus from Riga to Tallinn, which then left for St. Petersburg in Russia.

"I have to say that this morning information that the first infected individual has just been found in Estonia," Estonia’s Social Affairs Minister Tanel Kiik told reporters, according to ERR News.

Read more: Coronavirus: people returning from China can claim sick leave

The individual is an Iranian national resident in Estonia, who arrived in the country by bus from Riga, Latvia. The person is currently isolated in a hospital. Latvian public broadcaster LTV reported that the Iranian travelled from Riga Airport after taking a flight from Turkey.

As of Wednesday, Iran had 139 reported cases of the coronavirus, with 19 reported deaths. It's one of the highest number outside China. The individual in Estonia, however, had not recently arrived in the country either by plane or by sea, according to Kiik.

"The passengers on the [same] bus are currently being identified and contacted," said Kiik.

"The patient had no opportunity to travel around Estonia [after arriving by bus]," according to a spokesperson from the Estonian Health Board quoted by ERR News.

Estonia is not planning to introduce a quarantine, according to Kiik.

Update: the suspect travelled on Lux Express

The person travelled by Lux Express, the company said on Thursday, according to ERR News.

"We received information that the passenger travelled with us today at 9:30 [local time]. We immediately convened a crisis team, which contacted the Health Board and with whom we have implemented a set of measures to ensure safety,” Janno Ritsberg, CEO of Lux Express, said.

The bus departed Riga on Wednesday at 14:00 local time, and arrived in Tallinn at 18:30. The same bus was cleaned and departed onward to St Petersburg in Russia at 21:30 local time.

Lux Express said the bus has now been removed from service, although it is unlikely the bus will be infected with the virus, according to the Estonian health ministry.

The ministry will contact each passenger that was on the affected bus.

Lithuania, meanwhile, has on Wednesday declared a state of emergency as a preventative measure to stem the spread of the coronavirus from elsewhere in Europe.

There hasn’t been a single confirmed case in Lithuania.

Read more: Coronavirus: Lithuania declares state emergency

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