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France reports first coronavirus death, as epidemic spreads in Europe

EPA-EFE/IAN LANGSDON
A woman wears a protective face mask near the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, France, 15 February 2020.

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The French Health Ministry reported that a 60-year-old man died of a COVID-19 (popularly known as coronavirus) infection overnight on Wednesday, February 26 in a hospital in Paris, making him the first French citizen to die from the virus in the country.
Two new other cases of COVID-19 were also confirmed in the country by French General Director of Health Jérôme Salomon on Wednesday: a 55-year-old man in Amiens and a 36-year-old man in Strasbourg. Both men were already promptly hospitalized.
The news in Paris come amid a huge spread of COVID-19 in Italy, more specifically in the northern region bordering France and Switzerland. So far, more than 150 cases of COVID-19 infections have been confirmed in Italy with a death toll of 12 victims. Many Italian cities have been put on lockdown as a result. New cases of COVID-19 infections were also reported in Austria, Croatia, Switzerland and Greece involving citizens who had recently been to Italy. This makes the Coronavirus epidemic a serious concern for the whole European continent.
On Monday, EU’s Health Chief, Stella Kyriakides and Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič announced the allocation of €230 million to combat the spread of the virus in the continent. The EU has not taken any border control measures within the Schengen area yet, deeming the approach “disproportionate and ineffective.”
Earlier this week, WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom, told countries to brace for a “potential pandemic” of the new coronavirus, as cases grow worldwide. He added, however, that the virus could still be stopped, citing the newest containment developments in China that saw a decrease in COVID-19 in the country. The WHO is still cautious about using the term “pandemic” to describe the virus outbreak so far.

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