Coronavirus: First death confirmed in Europe

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.

A further 2,641 people have been newly confirmed as infected, bringing China’s total cases to 66,492.

All countries should be prepared for the arrival of the virus, the head of the World Health Organization said on Saturday.

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.

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