Published: Mon, February 17, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

France announces first coronavirus death in Europe

France announces first coronavirus death in Europe

The man did not live in Wuhan, the Chinese city that was the epicenter of the outbreak, but was from Hubei province, which includes Wuhan.

According to health authorities, the victim was an 80-year-old Chinese tourist from the Hubei province, the centre of the outbreak, who arrived in France on January 16th. According to worldwide reports, she had arrived in France on January 16 and was placed in quarantine in a hospital in Paris on January 25. Until the death in France, there had been three deaths outside China - one in Japan, one in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.

The virus, now called COVID-19, has infected more than 67,000 people globally and killed at least 1,527, the vast majority in China.

France has become the first country outside Asia to report a death from a new virus that originated in China.

Agnès Buzyn, France's health minister, said the patient's condition quickly worsened and that he had been in critical condition for several days, according to the New York Times.

The 80-year-old man died in a Paris hospital, leaving 10 remaining cases in France, including his 50-year-old daughter.

Outside China, nearly 600 cases have been confirmed - 35 of them in the European Union.

French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn confirmed the confirmed the first fatality from the infection in Europe on Saturday.

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"This is the first fatality by the coronavirus outside Asia, the first death in Europe", Buzyn told reporters on Saturday. The health minister said that she would be released soon.

On Saturday, Chinese officials confirmed that 2,641 new cases were reported in the country.

China remains the worst hit, with the death toll reaching 1,523.

The man - a Chinese tourist from the province of Hubei - arrived in France on January 16, then was hospitalized on January 25 under strict isolation measures.

"China should strengthen the unified leadership of efforts to control the epidemic", President Xi Jinping said in comments reported by the Xinhua news agency.

Earlier, the United States said it was sending a plane to Japan to evacuate Americans stuck on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is being held in quarantine in a Japanese port.

Out of 3700 people on board, 218 have tested positive for the virus.

The virus first emerged late previous year in central China's Wuhan city.

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