The First Death From Coronavirus Outside Asia Has Been Reported In France

The First Death From Coronavirus Outside Asia Has Been Reported In France
A laboratory operator wearing protective gear in France. The country reported the first death due to coronavirus, or COVID-19, outside Asia. (Photo: Thomas Samson, AFP via Getty Images)

France reported the first death due to coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19, outside Asia on Saturday. According to health authorities, the victim was an 80-year-old Chinese tourist from the Hubei province, the centre of the outbreak, who arrived in France on Jan. 16. The man was hospitalised shortly after his arrival and died on Friday at a hospital in Paris.

Agnès Buzyn, France’s health minister, said the patient’s condition quickly worsened and that he had been in critical condition for several days, according to the New York Times. Buzyn did not disclose the patient’s name, but she did say that his daughter also had coronavirus and is currently hospitalized in Paris. Nonetheless, Buzyn said that she was likely to be discharged soon.

According to the Times, the case of the Chinese tourist in France is the fourth death associated with the virus outside mainland China. The Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan have also reported one death each from coronavirus. In its latest Situation Report, dated Feb. 14, the World Health Organisation stated that there were 49,053 laboratory-confirmed cases and 1,383 deaths globally.

In France, there are 10 remaining confirmed cases of coronavirus, which include the victim’s daughter. Of those cases, Buzyn said that four people had recovered and been released, while six remain hospitalised. The health minister stated that the condition of the six hospitalised patients “does not give cause for concern.”

The cases in France also include five British citizens that stayed in a ski chalet in the French Alps. A British businessman is believed to be the source of a cluster of coronavirus cases in France and in Britain. The man contracted coronavirus after attending a conference in Singapore in January. Although he has publicly said that he has fully recovered, he is staying in isolation as a precaution.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the European Union’s agency dedicated to infectious diseases, reported that as of Feb. 15, there were 44 cases of coronavirus in the EU/European Economic Area (EEU) and the UK. Germany has 16 cases, the most in the region, followed by France with 10.