Coronavirus: France announces first COVID-19 death in Europe

16 Février, 2020, 15:34 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • An 80-year-old Chinese tourist has died of the Covid-19 in France the first death reported outside of Asia. – EPA pic

He arrived in France on January 16, then was hospitalized on January 25 under strict isolation measures. That raises the death toll at the epicenter of the outbreak to 1,596.

Egypt recorded its first Coronavirus case on Friday, becoming the first African country to be hit by the epidemic, and the second in the Middle East after the United Arab Emirates.

The number of deaths in Hubei rose by 139 as of Friday, with 107 of those in Wuhan.

The virus emerged in central Hubei province in December before spreading across the country and some two dozen countries. It said passengers above 80 years of age, those with underlying medical conditions and those who stayed in windowless cabins during the 14-day quarantine could move to a facility on shore.

Outside mainland China, fatalities reached four with one in Japan, in the Philippines, Hong Kong, and the most recent in France.

Chinese authorities have placed some 56 million people in Hubei and its capital Wuhan under quarantine, virtually sealing off the province from the rest of the country in an unprecedented effort to contain the virus. Robin Thompson, an expert in mathematical epidemiology at Britain's University of Oxford, said that with almost 50 cases in Europe, a death was not surprising.

"There still hasn't been sustained person-to-person transmission in Europe", he said.

A number of cities far from the epicentre have also imposed tough measures limiting the number of people who can leave their homes, while schools remain closed nationwide and many companies have encouraged employees to work from home.

Those taking the chartered planes will be taken to Travis Air Force Base in California, with some continuing to Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, where they will have to undergo another 14-day quarantine.

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Many factories are yet to re-open, disrupting supply chains in China and beyond for everyone from smartphone makers to vehicle manufacturers.

The number of trade fairs, sports events and industry conferences in China and overseas that have been affected by the spread of the virus continued to increase.

The coronavirus outbreak is still an emergency for China and it is impossible to tell where the epidemic will spread, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), has said.

Tedros told a gathering of worldwide foreign and security policy leaders in Germany on Saturday that WHO is encouraged there has not yet been widespread transmission outside China and that "the steps China has taken to contain the outbreak at its source appear to have bought the world time". "We are concerned by the lack of urgency in funding the response from the global community".

The prevention and control of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak is now at its most crucial stage in China and Hubei Province remained the main battlefield, a senior health official said. KNOCKING GROWTHThe biggest cluster outside China has been on a cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, quarantined off Japan's Yokohama, with 70 more cases reported on Sunday.

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo said passengers and crew were at high risk of exposure to the virus and it recommended that the estimated 400 U.S. citizens onboard get off and take one of the evacuation flights it is arranging on Sunday. Canada, Hong Kong and Italy said they were planning similar flights.

Malaysia said it would not allow any more passengers from another cruise ship to transit the country after an 83-year-old American woman from the MS Westerdam tested positive for the virus.

The sickness, now officially labelled COVID-19, has killed about 2% of those infected. No other countries in the region reported new cases of the virus.

Business losses are so severe that forecasters have cut their outlooks for China's economic growth. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the coronavirus might knock two- to three-tenths of a percent off US growth in the first quarter. In the latest disruption, Chinese gymnasts were forced to cancel attendance at next week's World Cup in Melbourne because of Australian travel curbs.

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