Coronavirus: France reports Europe's first fatality

The elderly Chinese tourist was being treated in hospital

Charles Germain leaves the Vacantiel Holiday Resort in Carry-le-Rouet, near Marseille, southern France on February 14, 2020, where he spent 14 days in quarantine after his repatriation from Wuhan, China. / AFP / CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU

France on Saturday reported the first death in Europe from the new coronavirus  – an elderly Chinese tourist who was being treated in a hospital in Paris.

French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said she was informed about the death of the man, 80, late on Friday.

The patient had been receiving treatment since January 25 but his condition “deteriorated rapidly” after several critical days, she said.

His daughter was also taken to hospital but she is expected to recover.

Six people with the virus remain in hospital in France, Ms Buzyn said. She said none was seriously ill.

France has recorded 11 of the 46 cases of the Covid-19 virus detected in Europe. Nine European nations have reported cases, with Germany having the most at 16.

The virus has infected more than 67,000 people globally and has killed at least 1,526 people. The vast majority of the cases are in China, which has also recorded almost all of the deaths so far.

Only four people are known to died from the virus outside mainland China – in the Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan and now France. The World Health Organisation has called the virus a threat to global health.

Chinese authorities have placed about 60 million people under a strict lockdown, built emergency hospitals and set up controls across the country to fight the spread of the virus. Restaurants, cinemas and other businesses have been closed nationwide and sports and cultural events have been cancelled to prevent crowds from gathering.