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 she 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, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
The World Health Organization has not yet confirmed the death of the coronavirus patient in France.
Two Chicago patients released from home isolation
In Chicago, two patients — a married couple in their 60s — who had contracted COVID-19 were released from home isolation on Friday, according to Chicago health officials.
On Jan. 24, the woman was the second person in the U.S. to be diagnosed with the virus after returning from a visit to Wuhan on Jan. 13. Her husband was diagnosed with the virus Jan. 30 in the first U.S. case of a person-to-person transmission. Health officials have not released their names.
China reports drop in new virus cases
On Sunday, confirmed cases of the virus in China rose to 68,500 and the number of deaths rose to 1,665, according to China's National Health Commission.
The updated numbers represent 2,009 new virus cases, the third consecutive day of declines, according to the commission.
Medical workers account for a 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.
At a gathering of the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, said he was "concerned" by the reports of infected health workers. "This is still very much an emergency for (China)," he said.
Your guide to coronavirus: Everything to know about Covid-19, the deadly virus alarming the world
Addressing criticism that he has given too much credit to China for its efforts to contain the coronavirus, Ghebreyesus said he was "giving credit where it was due" and that now was not the time to "politicize" the issue.
"We’re encouraged that the steps China has taken to contain the outbreak at the source appears to have bought the world time, even though those steps have come at greater cost to China itself," he said. "It’s slowing the spread to the rest of the world."
Ghebreyesus said the WHO was working with social media companies – including Facebook, Google, Tencent, Twitter, Tik Tok and YouTube – to counter the spread of rumors and misinformation about the virus.
"This is a time for facts, not fear," Ghebreyesus said. "This is a time for solidarity, not stigma."
More than 680 cases have been confirmed outside mainland China, according to Johns Hopkins. In addition to the one in France, there have been three other fatalities outside mainland China, all in Asia: in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan, which confirmed nine more cases Saturday.
As of Saturday morning, 67,178 people worldwide had been infected with the virus, including 15 in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins.
US to evacuate Americans on cruise ship
The United States was expected to evacuate nearly 400 American passengers under quarantine due to coronavirus on board Princess Cruises' Diamond Princess, the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Japan announced early Saturday.
The Diamond Princess is thought to be the largest group of coronavirus patients outside China. As of Thursday, at least 285 people aboard the ship had tested positive for coronavirus, including at least 25 Americans.
The Princess Cruises ship was carrying 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew when it set sail and was quarantined after an initial 10 cases of coronavirus were reported Feb. 4.
Coronavirus quarantine: US to evacuate nearly 400 Americans on board cruise ship
Contributing: Morgan Hines, Julia Thompson, Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY; Associated Press
Follow Grace Hauck on Twitter @grace_hauck.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: France reports death of Chinese tourist, first in Europe