TEMPO.CO, Paris - An elderly Chinese tourist infected with the coronavirus has died in France, Paris said on Saturday, Feb. 15, becoming the first fatality in Europe and the fourth outside mainland China from an epidemic that has rattled the world.
Thought to have originated from a wildlife market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the outbreak has dented the world's second-largest economy and presented a huge challenge to the ruling Communist Party.
Beijing's latest figures on Saturday showed 66,492 cases and 1,523 deaths, mostly in central Hubei province. Outside mainland China, there have been about 500 cases in some two dozen countries and territories, with four deaths in Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and France.
In the French case, the 80-year-old Chinese man died at the Bichat Hospital in Paris of lung infection due to coronavirus, Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said.
After an extended Lunar New Year holiday, China urgently needs to get back to work. But some cities remain in lockdown, streets are deserted, employees are nervous, and travel bans and quarantine orders are in place around the country.
Those returning to Beijing from the holiday have been ordered to undergo a 14-day self-quarantine to prevent the virus' spread.
Many factories are yet to re-open.
While there has been some hope expressed this week that the flu-like disease may be peaking in China, numbers keep rising and a trend has been hard to discern, especially after a reclassification that widened the definition of cases.