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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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
The outside of the hotel showed some of the damage caused by the avalanche – Photo By REUTERS
Courtesy of BBC News