France has reported the first novel coronavirus, officially called "Covid-19", fatality in Europe. An 80-year old man from China's hard-hit city of Wuhan arrived in Paris in mid-January and was hospitalized after falling ill three weeks ago.
He died on Friday evening, becoming the first Covid-19 fatality outside Asia.
First Covid-19 fatality in Europe
The man came to Paris on January 16 to meet his 50-year-old daughter. He fell ill three weeks ago. He died at Paris' Bichat hospital of a lung infection caused by the Covid-19 virus, France's health minister, Agnès Buzyn, said on Saturday, the Guardian reported.
"His condition declined rapidly and he had been in a critical state for several days," the minister said. "It's the first death from the coronavirus outside Asia and the first in Europe."
"We have to get our health system ready to face a possible pandemic propagation of the virus, and therefore the spreading of the virus across France," she added.
His daughter has also tested positive for the deadly virus, and has been admitted to a hospital where she is making good recovery.
The father-daughter duo were among 11 coronavirus cases confirmed in France, four of whom have recovered and been discharged.
Till now, four fatalities due to Covid-19 have been reported outside mainland China. The Philippines reported the first on Feb. 2, followed by Hong Kong on Feb. 5. Japan became the latest nation to report a death due to coronavirus on Feb. 13, followed by France.
On Saturday, China reported 2,009 new cases of Covid-19 infection along with 142 fatalities. Among these, China's central Hubei province, the epicenter of the epidemic, reported 1,843 new cases and 139 fatalities, the Global Times reported.
The first case of Covid-19 infection was reported on December 31 in Hubei's capital Wuhan, where the disease is said to have originated from a local sea-food market.
As on Saturday, 69,195 cases have been reported from over two dozen countries, with 68,500 cases reported in mainland China alone.