An elderly Chinese man has died from coronavirus, the first fatality from the infection in Europe.
The 80-year-old tourist died from a lung infection at Bichat-Claude Bernard Hospital in northern Paris.
French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn confirmed the death – which marks Europe’s first coronavirus fatality.
The man, who was from the Chinese province of Hubei, had been receiving treatment in the French hospital since 25 January.
He had been kept in isolation while receiving treatment, but his condition is said to have deteriorated rapidly.
He had arrived in France on 16 January.
His daughter was also treated for coronavirus in the same hospital, but has now recovered according to authorities.
His case is one of 12 French cases of COVID-19, which is the medical name for the acute respiratory disease caused by the virus.
Six of those cases are British nationals who caught the virus from “superspreader” Steve Walsh after coming into contact with him in the French Alps during a skiing holiday.
Ms Buzyn warned: “Our health system must be prepared to face a possible virus spreading across the country.”
She says she will be meeting with medical authorities on Tuesday to discuss the issue.
This is the fourth death to be reported outside mainland China. The virus has so far spread to more than two dozen countries.
The World Health Organisation has now sent a team of 24 health experts to China to investigate how the virus is spreading and its severity.
The death comes as:
- A total of 1,527 people have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus – most in mainland China but one each in Hong Kong, the Philippines and Japan
- 67,097 cases have been confirmed since the virus started in mid-December in Wuhan, with 66,497 in mainland China, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and the World Health Organisation
- There were 5,090 suspected new cases recorded in mainland China, Chinese authorities said on Friday
Temporary hospitals have been set up in gymnasiums and public buildings across the Hubei province of China to facilitate early testing and treatment.
Meanwhile 285 cases of the virus have been confirmed on a quarantined cruise ship in Japan.
The Diamond Princess in Yokohama, near Tokyo, has around 3,700 passengers in total, including tourists from Britain, America and Australia.