Chinese tourist dies of coronavirus in France, first death in Europe - minister

Henrietta Strickland
February 16, 2020

The 80-year-old Chinese tourist who died in France was hospitalized January 25 with a lung infection, according to Health Minister Agnes Buzyn. Buzyn said he arrived in France on January 16 and was hospitalized on January 25 under strict isolation measures but his condition deteriorated rapidly.

In Singapore, which has 67 confirmed cases, the Roman Catholic Church said it was suspending all masses indefinitely to help prevent the spread of the virus and urged the faithful to follow services on YouTube or the radio. The man did not live in Wuhan, the central Chinese city hardest-hit by the virus, but was from Hubei province that includes Wuhan.

The 80-year-old tourist died from a lung infection at Bichat-Claude Bernard Hospital in northern Paris. The ministry said the new patient been tested daily while in isolation at a Lyon hospital before testing positive Saturday.

Xi's remarks were made public as the authorities face rare bouts of public anger over the handling of an epidemic that has killed more than 1,500 people and infected some 66,000 across the country.

It has since spread to more than 24 countries and prompted sweeping prevention measures from the Chinese government, including a lockdown of cities with a combined population of more than 60 million. The epidemic has killed nearly 1,400 people, most in China.

France's health minister has announced the first coronavirus death in Europe. Restaurants, shops and other businesses nationwide were ordered to close.

In Munich on Saturday, chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a gathering of the world's top defense officials and diplomats that his country was "determined to fight and win this battle" against the virus, and suggested that its efforts were paying off.

He said the epidemic has presented a "severe challenge" to China's economy growth but said it was well positioned to rebound.

He said the Geneva-based United Nations health agency was seeking "further clarity" from China about recent updates to its case definition and reporting protocol for the coronavirus disease outbreak.

His case is one of 12 French cases of COVID-19, which is the medical name for the acute respiratory disease caused by the virus. "China has a strong public health and health system", said Dr. Michael Ryan, WHO's chief of emergencies.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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