The first person to die of the coronavirus infection in Europe has been announced by the French health minister Agnes Buzyn.
The victim is an 80-year-old Chinese tourist who was diagnosed last month. He has since been looked after in the Bichat hospital in Paris.
According to the French press, the man’s daughter was also infected.
“The state of her health is no longer a cause for concern, and she will be discharged soon,” Buzyn told the press. And she paid tribute to “the commitment of the professionals of the resuscitation until at the Bichat hospital, all of the medical teams and the laboratories.”
The man is the first fatality from the Covid-19 virus, formerly known as coronavirus, outside of Asia. In all, 11 cases have been reported in France. Four of those patients are now well enough to be allowed home, including one doctor hospitalised at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, also in Paris.
Yesterday the first case of Covid-19 infection was reported in Africa, in Egypt. The authorities declined to provide details, but said the victim is a foreigner, and has been placed in isolation.
Meanwhile in China, 139 new cases of infection were reported in Hubei province, where the epidemic broke out, over the last 24 hours. The death toll in China has now reached more than 1,500.
The number of those infected in China is more than 66,000, with 2,420 reported in the last 24 hours, less than half the number of the day before.
EU health ministers met in Brussels this week to discuss the epidemic and how to deal with it on a European level. They stressed the importance of early detection, particularly at entry points like airports, and of uniform measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
Minister Buzyn also urged colleagues to be vigilant for the supply of pharmaceutical products of all sorts coming from China, provision of which may be disrupted.
“We will remain vigilant and if the situation changes we will step up our work,” said European health commissioner Stella Kyriakides.