Published On: Sat, Feb 15th, 2020

Coronavirus: First death confirmed in Europe

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A Chinese tourist has died in France after contracting the new coronavirus – the first fatality from the disease outside Asia.

The victim was an 80-year-old man from China’s Hubei province, according to French Health Minister Agnès Buzyn.

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

Only three deaths had previously been reported outside mainland China – in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Japan.

However, 1,523 people have died from the virus within China, mostly in Hubei where it first emerged. These include 143 deaths newly reported on Saturday by the country’s national health commission.

 

What has happened in France?

In late January, France became the first European country to confirm cases of the virus. It has had 11 confirmed cases of the disease, officially called Covid-19. Six people remain in hospital.

The deceased man had been in a critical condition in the Bichat hospital in northern Paris, the health minister said. He died of a lung infection due to the coronavirus.

The man’s 50-year-old daughter is among the six in hospital with the virus, but she is recovering, Ms Buzyn said.

The other five are British nationals who caught the virus at a chalet in the ski resort of Contamines-Montjoie.

How are other countries affected?

Outside mainland China, there have been more than 500 cases in 26 countries.

Earlier, the US 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.

Some 400 US citizens are reported to be on the vessel, according to Japan’s NHK broadcaster. Those with symptoms are expected to be treated in Japan.

Out of 3,700 people on board, 218 have tested positive for the virus. Australia also said it was considering removing its citizens from the ship.

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