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

New Chinese coronavirus cases show slight fall; Chinese tourist dies in France

New Chinese coronavirus cases show slight fall; Chinese tourist dies in France

"We have to get our health system ready to face a possible pandemic propagation of the virus, and therefore the spreading of the virus across France", said Health Minister Agnes Buzyn.

He arrived in France on 16 January and was placed in quarantine in hospital in Paris on 25 January, she said. All the previous deaths outside mainland China due to COVID-19, the disease the virus causes, were in Asia: one each in Japan, the Philippines and Hong Kong. Globally, cases now top 67,000 and the virus has killed more than 1,500 people worldwide, with only a handful of those deaths coming outside of China.

China reported 2,641 new cases in the 24 hours through midnight Friday, raising the country's total to 66,492.

A number of cities far from the epicentre have also imposed tough measures limiting the number of people who can leave their homes, while schools remain closed nationwide and many companies have encouraged employees to work from home.

In late January, France became the first European country to confirm cases of the virus.

Dr. Yazdan Yazdanpanah, head of Bichat's infectious diseases unit, said the man visited two French hospitals.

The coronavirus, thought to have emerged at a wildlife market in the central Chinese province of Hubei, has presented the ruling Communist Party with the huge challenge of halting its spread while at the same time minimising damage to the world's second-largest economy.

"This is the first death from the coronavirus outside Asia, the first death in Europe". The other cases were not a source of concern, Buzyn said earlier.

He later tested positive and was admitted to Bichat on January 29, Yazdanpanah said.

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In addition, the first African coronavirus infection has been reported in Egypt.

Without naming governments, the WHO leader said that in many countries, measures have been taken by one part of the government without appropriate consultation with the health ministry, or consideration of the impact of these measures.

There were 5,090 suspected new cases recorded in mainland China, Chinese authorities said on Friday.

Several countries have banned arrivals from China and major airlines have cut services with the country. That raises the death toll at the epicenter of the outbreak to 1,596.

Meanwhile, more medical workers and supplies are being deployed to the Hubei province as the epidemic continues.

The official Beijing Daily newspaper said people failing to obey government orders to quarantine themselves on return from the holidays would be punished.

China and the United States officially having cut tariffs on each other's goods on Friday for the first time in almost two years, however, could somewhat please the investors.

Despite the promising data, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Saturday that it was "impossible to predict which direction this epidemic will take".

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