A Chinese woman has sparked online ire for boasting that she evaded coronavirus health checks, despite having a fever, to fly to France to dine in a Michelin-starred restaurant.
The Chinese embassy in Paris said it had tracked down the woman from Wuhan, who it called Mrs Yan, and who boasted that she took tablets to pass airport health checks.
On social media, she said she had been suffering from a fever but managed to mask her symptoms with medicine and travel to Lyon, southeastern France, for a slap-up gastronomic meal.
Recounting her journey on WeChat, she wrote: "Finally I can have a good meal, I feel like I've been starving for two days. When you are in a gourmet city of course you have to eat Michelin [food].”
She added: "Just before I left, I had a low fever and cough. I was scared to death and rushed to eat [fever-reducing] medicine. I kept on checking my temperature. Luckily I managed to get it down and my exit was smooth."
She also posted pictures of her meal.
Confirmation qu'une Chinoise de #Wuhan arrivée à #Lyon s'est vantée sur WeChat d'avoir réussi à éviter le contrôle à la douane à l'aéroport malgré sa fièvre et sa toux inquiétante. Rien ne prouve qu'elle est infectée par le #coronavirus mais son attitude est irresponsable. pic.twitter.com/nxIrL9ds1u
— Conflits (@Conflits_FR) January 22, 2020
Her post swiftly went viral and she was widely criticised by other social media users as “selfish”, “irresponsible” and posing a health threat.
One Chinese Twitter user wrote: "We Chinese are so angry abt the girl. This(virus)is not what we want to bring to other nations. My family remained in Wuhan, didn’t escape. I’m so worried abt them but I think what they did was right. Don’t bring this to other nations and other ppl."
The embassy later confirmed that her symptoms were under control.
“She claimed that in the past few days, she has taken her temperature regularly and that now she no longer has any fever or cough symptoms,” it said in a statement.
“She confirms that she has already phoned 15 (for emergency medical care) and that French medical services told her that without symptoms of fever or pain, she doesn't need to be examined."
Lyon emergency services said that no individual had contacted them and hospitals said they had not received any patients with suspected coronavirus. Such a patient would have been sent to the Croix-Rousse infectious diseases unit.
Quizzed on the case on Thursday, Agnès Buzyn, the French health minister, said: ”No suspicious cases have been detected in France.”
She added: "Two cases have been investigated but turned out to be negative."
The woman left Wuhan - where the new coronavirus emerged late last year - before flights were suspended, but when thermal scanning was in place.
Since Thursday, public transport has been shut down, with residents told not to leave the city.
At least 41 people with the virus have died and it has infected more than 1,300 globally.
It was first reported to the World Health Organization on Dec 31.
The virus has spread to countries as far as South Korea, Japan and the US, where a second case was confirmed on Friday.