France announces 1st death in Europe of virus patient

Coronavirus

Travelers wear face masks as they walk outside the Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. People returning to Beijing will now have to isolate themselves either at home or in a concentrated area for medical observation, said a notice from the Chinese capital’s prevention and control work group published by state media late Friday. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

PARIS (AP) — France’s health minister has announced the first coronavirus death in Europe.

Minister Agnes Buzyn says Saturday that “I was informed last night of the death of an 80-year-old patient who had been hospitalized … since Jan. 25.”

The patient, a Chinese tourist from the province of Hubei, had a lung infection caused by the COVID-19 virus. He arrived in France on Jan. 16, then was hospitalized on Jan. 25 under strict isolation measures. His condition deteriorated rapidly.

His daughter was also hospitalized but authorities say she is expected to recover.

Europe has 46 cases of the virus that first emerged in central China in December. Nine European nations have reported cases, with Germany having the most at 16.

The virus has infected more than 67,000 people globally and has killed at least 1,526 people, the vast majority in China. The World Health Organization has called the virus a threat to global health.

Chinese authorities have placed some 60 million people under a strict lockdown, built emergency hospitals and instituted controls across the country to fight the spread of the virus. Restaurants, cinemas and other businesses have been closed nationwide and sports and cultural events have been canceled to prevent crowds from gathering.

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