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Five Britons staying at French ski resort diagnosed with coronavirus #coronavirus #france #wuhan #china #Singapore #emergency #quarantine # LesContaminesMontjoie #Savoie

Coronavirus Alert

The British nationals were diagnosed with the virus after coming into contact with a person who had been in Singapore.

Five Britons staying in a chalet at a French ski resort have been diagnosed with coronavirus, the country’s health minister has said.

Agnes Buzyn said the Britons, including a nine-year-old child, were diagnosed with the virus after coming into contact with a person who had been in Singapore.

All five had been staying at Les Contamines-Montjoie in the mountainous region of Savoie in eastern France.

They were taken to hospital in the region overnight and are not in a serious condition.

It takes the total number of cases in France to 11.

Ms Buzyn said the group of newly-infected individuals formed “a cluster, a grouping around one original case.”

“That original case was brought to our attention last night, it is a British national who had returned from Singapore where he had stayed between 20 and 23 January, and he arrived in France on 24 January for four days.”

Two apartments in the ski chalet were being examined, a health official said.

French authorities will temporarily close two schools in the area near the ski resort where the Britons contracted the virus, a health official said.

It was earlier reported that only one Briton was among the five new cases.

The global death toll from the ongoing outbreak has reached 724, priming the illness to become more deadly than SARS.

Another 81 fatalities have been recorded in Hubei province in China, where Wuhan – the sprawling city where the infection was first reported after Christmas – is located.

The number of new infections rose on Friday from a day earlier, Chinese health officials said, reversing two days of declines and showing the difficulty of predicting the epidemic’s peak.

Japan also confirmed its first national to die from the virus, a man taken to hospital with pneumonia in Wuhan, putting the global death toll just 49 behind the 774 fatalities recorded during the SARS epidemic of 2002-2003.

The US has confirmed its first death from the virus, a 60-year old US citizen who died at Jinyintan Hospital Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak.

The UAE also says it has seven cases of the disease.

Courtesy of Sky News

#Snow Brings Parts Of #Europe To Standstill

Children walk along a snow covered road in Gerold, Germany, 11 January 2019

Some of the heaviest snow was in Bavaria where some villages were cut off – Photo By EPA

Heavy snowfalls brought chaos to parts of Germany and Sweden on Friday, leaving roads blocked, trains halted and schools shut.

The Red Cross helped drivers stuck on a motorway in the southern German state of Bavaria and a nine-year-old boy was killed by a falling tree.

The front of a Swiss hotel was hit by an avalanche and a winter storm made roads impassable in Sweden and Norway.

Austrian rescuers had to battle through chest-deep snow to reach a snowboarder.

The 41-year-old Pole had lost his way after going off piste at the resort of Schlossalmbahn.

Rescuers climb through deep snow to reach a Polish snowboarder
Rescuers said the Polish snowboarder was stuck on an icy rock covered in two metres of snow – Photo By BERGRETTUNG BAD HOFGASTEIN

There was some respite in Austria on Friday, after three metres of snow fell in some parts in previous days. Seven people have died in the past week and two hikers have been missing since Saturday.

“Such quantities of snow above 800m altitude only happen once every 30 to 100 years,” said Alexander Radlherr from Austria’s Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics.

The Austrian military sent helicopters to blow snow off treetops to reduce the risk of trees falling on roads and rails.

In Sweden wintry storms ravaged parts of the north. One area recorded winds of 49.7m per second (111mph) as Storm Jan ravaged Stekenjokk near the Norwegian border.

A track vehicle of the German armed forces Bundeswehr drives through the snow to supply the cut off Buchenhoehe settlement area in Berchtesgaden, southern Germany, on January 10, 2019
The armed forces were sent in when hundreds of people were cut off near Berchtesgaden in Bavaria – Photo By AFP

In northern Norway, a lorry driver described on Friday morning how he and other drivers had been stuck on a mountain road since 17:00 (16:00 GMT) on Thursday. Magnar Nicolaisen told public broadcaster NRK that he had slept in his cabin overnight while others had had to stay in their cars.

Conditions on Friday were particularly treacherous in Bavaria, where the local broadcaster said snowfalls were paralysing public life.

Rail services were worst hit in the south and east of the state and roads were cut off by drifts and falling trees.

A boy of nine was killed near Munich when a tree collapsed under the weight of snow. It was 40 minutes before he was found and emergency services were unable to revive him.

Two sections of the big A8 autobahn were closed in the south-east, as drivers spent Thursday night at a standstill near Rosenheim. The Bavarian Red Cross and a government agency came to the aid of the drivers.

A boy runs through the snow-covered town centre of Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, Germany, 10 January 2019
Hundreds of people around the Bavarian town of Berchtesgaden were cut off by heavy snow – Photo By EPA

Roads in the Berchtesgaden area close to the Austrian border were blocked and the army sent up to 200 soldiers to help hundreds of people caught up in the snow.

There was a let-up in the weather on Friday ahead of expected of further snowfalls on Saturday night. However, some 90 flights were cancelled in Munich while some flights in Frankfurt were also hit.

In Switzerland, an avalanche hit a hotel restaurant, injuring three people. Local reports said the avalanche had been 300m in width when it came down the Schwägalp.

The snow is seen at the Säntis hotel after an avalanche hit it in Schwägalp, Switzerland
Hotel guests were stunned when the avalanche crashed into the back of the restaurant – Photo By REUTERS

Rescuers searched the area on Friday in case anyone near the Hotel Säntis had been caught up in the avalanche.

Cars were left buried in the snow and even a bus was left partly submerged.

One guest in the hotel restaurant said that initially he thought snow was falling from the roof.

“There there was a gigantic noise, and the back area of the restaurant was engulfed in masses of snow,” the guest told Tagblatt.

Snow covers a building door at Santis-Schwaegalp mountain area after an avalanche, in Switzerland January 10, 2019.
The outside of the hotel showed some of the damage caused by the avalanche – Photo By REUTERS

Courtesy of BBC News

Ski season starts a MONTH early in the Alps thanks to heavy snowstorms – as skiers hit the slopes in Spain and Portugal after blistering hot summer

Snow Alert
Some ski resorts in the Alps have opened a month ahead of schedule as snowstorms mean the season is starting early. 
More than three metres of snow has fallen in the southern Swiss and northern Italian Alps this week. 
Verbier in Switzerland was yesterday able to open some of its slopes in what is believed to be the earliest start to the season. 
More than 60 cm fell in the Alpine village and the resort now hopes to open every weekend this and next month.
Cervinia resort in Italy has been covered in a blanket of deep snow and early-season skiers 
Cervinia resort in Italy has been covered in a blanket of deep snow and early-season skiers
Televerbier, the ski lift company, said: ‘The Indian summer has ended and given way to winter.
‘Thanks to the natural snow and man-made snow we can open our domain on Friday with excellent conditions.’ 
Since there are fewer slopes available, weekend skiers can expect a cheaper one-day lift pass. 
Melody Sky, a Verbier-based photographer, said: ‘The snow is amazingly good for this time of year. 
‘On Friday it was just locals skiing but they are expecting it t be busier over the weekend.’ 
Even resorts in Portugal and Spain are opening way ahead of schedule.
Portugal’s only ski area, Serra da Estrela opened some slopes on Thursday while Massella in the Spanish Pyrenees also enjoyed its earliest opening.
Other resorts in the Alps are opening, too. Glacier resorts like Tignes in France and Hintertux in Austria have high-altitude slopes open.
A map showing the ski resort of Verbier within Switzerland along the Alps bordering Italy
A map showing the ski resort of Verbier within Switzerland along the Alps bordering Italy
Sulden in Italy along with Glacier 3000 in Switzerland said they will open slopes in the coming days. 
Patrick Thorne, editor of InTheSnow magazine told the Times: ‘Having followed snowfall stats in the world’s ski areas for the past three decades, I’ve seen snow falling every month of the year but I can’t recall seeing ski resorts reporting up to six feet of snow in October.
‘It’s clearly great news for resorts opening or planning to in the next few weeks but it’s early days and most of the snowfall is up high so we mustn’t tempt fate by claiming it’s going to be a snowy winter 2018-19 too soon.’ 
The weather in the Alps has been erratic with fluctuating temperatures and a mixture of snow and rain with high winds.
The latest snowstorm dumped up to three metres of snow above 2600 m. 
Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Cervinia and the Monte Rosa region all have a huge amount of snow at high altitude because of the storm that came up from the south. 
But warm winds are keeping some areas green. 
Fraser Wilkin, editor of Weather to Ski website, said: ‘In the northern Alps, however, the warm Foehn wind has been blowing, sending the snowline scurrying back up the mountain in areas such as the Bernese Oberland (Wengen, Mürren) and the Arlberg such as Lech and St Anton. ‘
Freerider in the region of Verbier, Switzerland. The region has welcomed its earliest opening
Freerider in the region of Verbier, Switzerland. The region has welcomed its earliest opening
Courtesy of