(Photo: Igor Cagalj/PIXSELL) (Photo: Igor Cagalj/PIXSELL)

Both individuals recently returned to Croatia from China and presented with symptoms that indicate a potential infection with the flu-like virus that emerged in China a month ago and has rapidly spread to new countries.

 The two patients have been isolated and doctors are awaiting lab results to determine if they have the coronavirus.

 “We have admitted two younger people, who arrived in Croatia on Saturday. They had been working in China going back ten days. They reported certain symptoms. One patient was running a slight fever yesterday. The other had respiratory symptoms,” said Dr. Krunoslav Sporčić from the County General Hospital in Vinkovci.

 Dr. Sporčić said the hospital was following health ministry recommendations on handling a potential threat of the coronavirus.

 “We admitted them and took blood samples, which we sent to the infectious diseases clinic in Zagreb. We are waiting for the results to see if it is the coronavirus. The clinical data that we do have would lead us to conclude that it's not, but we will wait for the results,” he said.

A patient in Split who had similar symptoms has been cleared by doctors, after lab tests performed in Zagreb confirmed he did not have the coronavirus. Another patient from Đakovo who returned from China two weeks ago and was hospitalized in Osijek over the weekend is being released. His tests for the coronavirus were also negative.

Dozens of Europeans who were evacuated from China are quarantined in the south of France. They will remain isolated at a resort near Marseilles for two weeks before being allowed to return home. Among them are four Croatian nationals.

 “Doctors are keeping a close eye on us. We are taking our temperature twice daily and doctors are here around the clock,” said Croatian student Margita Pauzin in a cell phone video she shared on social media.

French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said that until health authorities can accurately assess how many people have actually contracted the virus beyond those who are presenting with symptoms, it will be difficult to tell how severe the virus really is.

“Only gathering data over time will allow us to judge its severity. Its mortality is currently estimated at 2%, but that is according to the cases that present themselves in hospital," Buzyn said.

 +Croatia’s Health Minister Vili Beroš with the EU's Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides and Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčić met in Brussels on Monday. He said there was no need for an emergency ministerial meeting on the coronavirus yet, but that ministers would be talking later this week.

“We are going to call an informal ministerial teleconference this week, where all the EU health ministers will share their experiences and give feedback on measures so that we can try to arrive at an optimal solution,” he said.

There have been no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Croatia, so far.