It is the first death of the new coronavirus announced outside Asia: an 80-year-old Chinese tourist hospitalized in France since the end of January died Friday evening, said Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn.
“This is the first death from the coronavirus outside of Asia, and therefore the first death in Europe,” she said to the press on Saturday morning.
Only three deaths have so far been recorded outside mainland China: the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan.
The condition of this patient, who arrived in France on January 23 and hospitalized a few days later in intensive care at the Bichat hospital in Paris with a serious pulmonary infection, “had rapidly deteriorated and he had been in critical condition for several days “.
His 50-year-old daughter, also affected by the disease and hospitalized in the same establishment, does not, however, inspire any concern and “should be able to leave soon,” said the minister.
France has so far identified 11 confirmed cases linked to the Covid epidemic19.
Four of them are “healed” and “released” from the hospital: on Wednesday, a couple of thirty-something Chinese men also taken care of at Bichat hospital, on Thursday, a 48-year-old Bordeaux resident from China, and on Friday, a doctor who was hospitalized at Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris.
These people “have stopped being positive for the virus, they have had two negative tests” and are “back home,” said Agnès Buzyn, explaining that there was no longer any need to subject them to surveillance. special.
Six patients remain hospitalized, and their state of health “does not inspire concern”.
In addition to the daughter of the deceased patient, five Britons – four adults and a 9-year-old child – were infected by a compatriot during a stay in Haute-Savoie. They are hospitalized in the Lyon region.
– “Pandemic dissemination” –
The viral pneumonia epidemic detected in China in December in central Hubei province infected more than 66,000 people and left more than 1,500 people dead in the country.
Outside mainland China, nearly 600 cases of contamination have been confirmed in around 30 countries. Egypt announced Friday that it has registered the first case on the African continent.
The main source of infection outside China remains the cruise ship Diamond Princess, in quarantine in Japan: 285 cases of contamination have been confirmed there on the approximately 3,700 passengers and crew members on board.
Four French are among them. One of them has tested positive for the new coronavirus and is “hospitalized in Japan”, according to French authorities. Buzyn said she did not have “specific news” on her condition yet.
Asked about the possibility of repatriation in these French, while the United States plans to evacuate their nationals present on the liner, the minister assured that “France is always ready to repatriate its nationals: when there is a request and a possibility to do so, we are always there. “
“We are monitoring the international situation very closely. (…) We must prepare our health system to face a possible pandemic spread and therefore a circulation of the virus on the national territory”, she also highlighted.
To this end, she will receive Tuesday “representatives of hospital professionals and city health professionals (…) to take stock”.
So far, the strategy of the health authorities to avoid the spread of the virus on French territory is based on the hospitalization in confinement of each confirmed case and on the carrying out of a survey to trace and screen the people with whom they have been in contact.