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France reports death of Chinese tourist, first in Europe

France’s health minister said Saturday a Chinese patient diagnosed with coronavirus has died in a Paris hospital, the first death from the new virus in Europe. 

Minister Agnes Buzyn said he was informed Friday night that an 80-year-old patient died from the new coronavirus, named COVID-19. The patient had been hospitalized at Bichat-Claude Bernard Hospital in Paris since Jan. 25. 

The patient, a Chinese tourist from the province of Hubei, had a lung infection caused by the COVID-19 virus. He arrived in France on Jan. 16 and was hospitalized Jan. 25 under strict isolation measures. His condition deteriorated rapidly.

His daughter was also hospitalized but authorities say she is expected to recover.

Europe has 46 cases of the virus that first emerged in central China in December. Nine European nations have reported cases, with Germany having the most at 16.

The World Health Organization has not yet confirmed the death of the coronavirus patient. 

A medical staff leaves the department of Tropical Infections and diseases at the Bichat hospital, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020 in Paris.

China reports drop in new virus cases

On Saturday, confirmed cases of the virus in China rose to 66,492 and the number of deaths rose to 1,523, according to China’s National Health Commission. 

The updated numbers represent 2,641 new virus cases, significantly less than the increase reported in recent days.

Medical workers account for a small percentage of those infections. More than 1,700 Chinese medical workers have been infected — and six have died — by the new coronavirus, a senior Chinese official said Friday.

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