Europe suffers 1st coronavirus death after Chinese tourist dies in France

Topics Coronavirus | Europe | China

An employee works on a production line manufacturing protective suits at a medical supply factory in Xinzhou district of Wuhan. Reuters
An elderly Chinese tourist died in France on Saturday, becoming the first fatality of the coronavirus in Europe and outside of Asia.

The 80-year-old man who died in Paris was one of 11 cases recorded in France. With 16 cases of infection, Germany has the most in Europe. Global infections now top 66,000 and the the virus has killed more than 1,500 people worldwide, with only a handful of those deaths coming outside of China.

Of the cases reported in France, the Chinese tourist who died was the only one whose condition was considered serious, the health ministry said on Saturday.

Health officials are struggling to gauge whether the spread of the outbreak is nearing a peak after China upended expectations this week. The country changed the data and the way cases are diagnosed, adding 15,000 more and forcing a dramatic recalculation of where the country stands in containing the spread. Prior to the adjustment, the growth in cases had been slowing, raising hopes that the crisis was coming under control.

Earlier this month a cluster of cases in France, Spain and the UK were traced to a French ski resort, where the infected people had contact with a British man who had just returned from a conference in Singapore in January that led to infections in at least five countries.

The first group of 181 French citizens evacuated from Wuhan in China, the epicentre of the epidemic, were released on Friday after two weeks in quarantine and displayed no signs of the virus. A second group of 157 people, held in another location in southern France, is due to be released soon.

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