First Death From Coronavirus in Europe!

Published February 16th, 2020 - 01:16 GMT
French Health and Solidarity Minister Agnes Buzyn attends a session of questions to the government at the French National Assembly in Paris on February 11, 2020. Philippe LOPEZ / AFP
French Health and Solidarity Minister Agnes Buzyn attends a session of questions to the government at the French National Assembly in Paris on February 11, 2020. Philippe LOPEZ / AFP
Highlights
Steve Walsh had flown from a business conference in Singapore to Les Contamines-Montjoie, near Mont Blanc, before returning to Brighton where he developed symptoms.

An 80-year-old man has died of coronavirus in France, becoming the first fatality from the infection in Europe.

French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn today confirmed the death of the elderly Chinese tourist, who travelled to the country from the Hubei province on January 16.

The victim, who was quarantined in Bichat hospital in Paris on January 25, leaves behind a daughter who is battling the infection but making a good recovery.

He died of a lung infection sparked by the bug which caused his condition to 'rapidly deteriorate'. 

Mrs Buzyn said she was told about the death 'on Friday night' and has been liaising directly with his family. 

France has recorded 11 cases of the virus, out of a global total of 67,090. The vast majority of those suffering from the virus are in China.   

Only three deaths have so far been recorded outside mainland China - in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan. 

The highly contagious epidemic which spawned in Wuhan late last year has killed 1,527 people. 

Across the Channel, British experts sought to reassure the public that the mortality rate remains low.

Dr Andrew Freedman, leader in infectious diseases and at the Cardiff University School of Medicine, said: This first reported death in Europe from COVID-19 in an 80-year-old man comes as no surprise.

'Although the mortality rate is low - probably less than 2 per cent, we know that the risk of severe disease and death is greatest in the elderly as well as those with underlying co-morbidities such as diabetes and chronic respiratory disease.

It is still the case that the vast majority of infections are relatively mild with full recovery.

The first death outside Asia came as:

Public Health England wrote to 200 delegates at a Westminster bus conference after an attendee was later diagnosed with the bug;
A Tory MP who attended the event said she would not be self-isolating; 
The British scientist leading the fight against coronavirus admitted last night that predictions of 400,000 UK deaths are 'not absurd';
The United States prepared to evacuate Americans trapped aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, where 285 have now been diagnosed; 
United Airlines confirmed it offered assistance at Heathrow Airport on Friday after a passenger fell ill on one flight. 
Egypt recorded the first case of coronavirus in Africa. 
France has been front and centre of Europe's coronavirus outbreak, with the British super-spreader travelling to an Alpine ski resort before infecting 11 other Britons.

Steve Walsh had flown from a business conference in Singapore to Les Contamines-Montjoie, near Mont Blanc, before returning to Brighton where he developed symptoms.

Five of the cases linked to Mr Walsh are in England, while five are in France and one is in Majorca, Spain. 

The death across the Channel comes as health officials in the UK scrambled to prevent the spread of the killer bug on British soil.

Public Health England contacted more than 200 people who attended a conference in central London after it emerged one delegate is suffering from coronavirus.

PHE sent a letter to those who were at the UK Bus Summit at the QEII Centre in Westminster on February 6.

Delegates at the event included one patient subsequently diagnosed with the infection, and Labour MPs Lilian Greenwood and Alex Sobel.

This article has been adapted from its original source.     


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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