Published: Sun, February 16, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

France Reports First Coronavirus Death Outside Of Asia

France Reports First Coronavirus Death Outside Of Asia

The 80-year-old Chinese tourist who died in France was hospitalized January 25 with a lung infection, according to Health Minister Agnes Buzyn.

He arrived in France on January 16 and placed in quarantine in a hospital in Paris on 25 January, he said.

While the overall death toll in China due to the deadly virus increased to 1,523 on Saturday, only three deaths had been previously reported outside mainland China - in Hong Kong, Japan and the Philippines.

The scale of the epidemic ballooned this week after officials in the Chinese province of Hubei - the epicentre of the outbreak - changed their criteria for counting cases, adding thousands of new patients to the tally.

Outside mainland China, there have been about 500 cases in some 24 countries and territories. Six people remain in the hospital. According to Buzyn, the man's daughter is among those infected, but she is recovering.

While there has been some hope expressed this week that the disease may be peaking in China, numbers keep rising and a trend has been hard to discern, especially after a reclassification that widened the definition of cases.

The United States has imposed some of toughest curbs on travelers from China, going beyond World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations and offending Beijing.

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Restaurants, cinemas and other businesses have been closed nationwide and sports and cultural events have been cancelled to prevent crowds from gathering.

This came after he previously received criticism for temporarily banning residents of the Hubei province.

The US embassy has said it will fly roughly 400 Americans on board the ship back their home country and Buzyn said France was "always ready to repatriate its nationals", though she made no firm commitment.

"We are following the worldwide situation very closely", Buzyn said. They are to undergo a two-week quarantine.

Death from coronavirus COVID-19, from complications which in China has died 1527 people, recorded in France.

Business losses are so severe that forecasters have cut their outlooks for China's economic growth.

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