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LONDON/MADRID (Reuters) – A British man who contracted the new coronavirus while attending a conference in Singapore may have led to seven other people catching the disease when he stopped off at a chalet in a French mountain village on his way home, health experts said on Sunday.
The man, Britain’s third case of the virus, stayed for four days in the chalet in Les Contamines-Montjoie late last month, under the same roof as a group of British holidaymakers as well as a British family who lived in the village.
Five people from that group in the Alpine ski resort, including a child, contracted the coronavirus as a result, French officials said this weekend.
The trail does not end there, however. The disease carried by the same man may have spread elsewhere, underlining the challenges health authorities face in containing infections in an era of global air travel.
Spanish authorities said on Sunday that a British man had tested positive in Mallorca after coming into contact with an infected person in France. British health officials, meanwhile, said the country had recorded its fourth case of coronavirus, with the person catching the illness from a Briton in France.
Senior French health official Jerome Salomon confirmed in a televised statement that the two cases in Britain and Mallorca were linked to the group staying in the chalet in Les Contamines-Montjoie.
Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at England’s University of East Anglia, said of the new virus patient in Britain: “This case is part of the same cluster which is being reported as linked to a British national returning from Singapore.”
However, more broadly, while the outbreak of the new coronavirus has spread to at least 27 countries and territories, according to a Reuters count, only a tiny fraction of cases – about 330 out of over 37,000 – have been outside mainland China.