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COVID-19: Driver of bus stopped in Lyon tests negative for virus

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By Luke Hurst
Scientists testing for COVID-19 in France
Scientists testing for COVID-19 in France   -   Copyright  AP
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A bus driver reported to have with flu-like symptoms has tested negative for coronavirus after the vehicle was stopped at a station in Lyon, France, having driven through Milan.

The bus was stopped at Lyon Perrache station after border police informed regional health authorities of the driver's symptoms, leading them to declare a “possible case”.

With Italy facing a growing number of infections and deaths from the COVID-19 virus, precautionary measures have been put in place, so authorities investigated the bus which was travelling from Siena, Italy to Clermont-Ferrand, France

French health authorities said a total of 77 people travelled on the bus for all or part of the journey, which included around 10 stops. The 36 passengers and the driver at Lyon Perrache were checked over by doctors.

None of the passengers had any symptoms and the driver was taken to a hospital for testing.

Passengers who had stayed in Milan were advised to monitor their temperature, wear a surgical mask in the presence of others, and reduce non-essential activities in places where others are present.

In a statement, the operator of the bus, FlixBus, told Euronews: “FlixBus is closely monitoring the situation around the coronavirus and is following advice from authorities. Currently no special measures are advised by the responsible authorities. In case this changes, we will adjust accordingly.”

Italy is trying to deal with the biggest cluster of infections in any country outside of Asia, with 229 cases confirmed so far. It was the first EU member state to see citizens die from the virus. One person has also died in France so far.

The EU has pledged €230 million to fight the outbreak in Italy and elsewhere but said it would not yet impose restrictions on travel or trade.

Worlwide there have been 80,248 cases confirmed so far, mostly in China, and 2,704 deaths.