Europe has recorded its first coronavirus fatality, a Chinese tourist in France, it has been confirmed.
The death of the 80-year-old man, who was visiting Paris with his daughter when he was taken to hospital three weeks ago after falling ill, also marks the first coronavirus mortality outside Asia since the start of the outbreak.
His 50-year-old daughter also tested positive for the virus and is being treated in hospital, where she is said to be making a good recovery.
The pair, who are from Hubei, the province at the heart of the Chinese epidemic, are among 11 confirmed coronavirus cases in France. Six of those who contracted the disease in the country remain in hospital, while four have been discharged after recovering.
The man died at Bichat hospital on Friday evening of a lung infection caused by the Covid-19 virus, France’s health minister, Agnès Buzyn, said on Saturday. He had arrived in France on 16 January and was taken to hospital nine days later and put into strict isolation.
“His condition declined rapidly and he had been in a critical state for several days,” Buzyn said. “It’s the first death from the coronavirus outside Asia and the first in Europe.”
Of the 11 confirmed cases in France, six remain in hospital – including the Chinese patient’s daughter – where their conditions remain stable. French health authorities say four have recovered. Buzyn said the man’s daughter should be able to leave hospital soon.
On Saturday, China reported that confirmed cases of the virus had risen to almost 66,500 – more than 1,500 people have died. There have been more than 580 confirmed cases outside mainland China, and three deaths – in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan.
Europe has reported 46 cases of the Covid-19 virus, which first emerged in central China in December last year. Patients in nine European countries have tested positive for the virus, 16 of them in Germany.