Local authorities in Romania are raising concerns about coronavirus contagion fears after a 50 members from a philharmonic orchestra returning from China were not screened for the virus upon landing in the capital of Bucharest.
The local authorities of the western Romanian town of Temesvár (Timișoara) said that the musicians and singers from seven orchestras around Romania, with 18 coming from Temesvár, have been touring China for a month. The orchestra also held two concert in early December in Wuhan, the Chinese town regarded as ground zero of the outbreak.
Ioan Gârboni, director of the Temesvár Philharmonic Orchestra, said he did not understand why the musicians did not receive any medical check when landing in Romania.
Upon arriving in Temesvár, the group was supposed to meet colleagues at a rehearsal but Gârboni decided to send them home into a quasi-quarantine, giving them two weeks’ paid leave and advising them to contact as few people as possible.
“Although it was well-known that they came from China, there have been no checks anywhere at the airport, neither in Germany, nor elsewhere,” Gârboni said, saying orchestra members have now been sent to be checked by doctors.
Romania has designated five hospitals to deal with any cases but so far none have been reported in the country.
Scientists have yet to fully understand the destructive potential of the new virus, known as 2019-nCoV. Researchers and investigators are just beginning to figure out where it originated, how it’s transmitted, and how far it has spread.
As of Thursday, case numbers skyrocketed to more than 800 in China and abroad. Chinese authorities also confirmed that health workers have been infected with the virus, suggesting that human-to-human transmission is possible.
Meanwhile, in an attempt to prevent the spread of the disease, China has locked down Wuhan and two other cities in the region.
Title image: Airport security cordon (illustration)