Coronavirus in Europe: Second Person Dies in Italy

TheItaly recorded a second death from the coronavirus, the second European victim on Saturday as the number of infections jumped outside of China on Saturday, with WHO calling for mobilization against a disease that has already affected 77,000 people worldwide.

The second European victim, an Italian, had been hospitalized for ten days in Lombardy (north), the region around Milan, said Italian news agencies, which did not specify the age of the victim.

The first death in Italy, that of a 78-year-old retired mason, was announced overnight.

Around 30 cases of infection have so far been reported on Italian soil, including more than 25 in Lombardy where more than a dozen cities have been placed in semi-containment since Friday.

The first person to die in Europe after being infected with Covid-19, which appeared in December in Wuhan (central China), was a Chinese tourist from Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital. The 80-year-old man died in Paris on February 14.

Outside mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macao), more than 1,300 contaminations have so far been identified – notably in South Korea and Japan.

Other cases all over the world

If fear is gripping Europe, it is also because the World Health Organization (WHO) is worried about the difficulty of halting the spread of the virus.

WHO boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sounded the alarm on Friday in Geneva: “We are still in a phase where it is possible to contain the epidemic”. But the “window of fire is narrowing,” he warned, lamenting the lack of international financial support.

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In fact, the homes of Covid-19 continued to swarm, with an additional death reported in Iran on Saturday (now five in total). First confirmed cases had been announced the day before in Lebanon and Israel.

Slowdown in China

In mainland China, however, by far the country most affected by viral pneumonia, the hour seems to be slowing. Health authorities announced on Saturday 109 new deaths, against 118 the day before, for a national total of 2,345.

The daily number of new cases of contamination with the coronavirus is in even greater decline, with 397 new cases against nearly 900 on Friday.

A WHO expert delegation is scheduled to arrive in Wuhan today, as the number of infections in mainland China now exceeds 76,000.

In a letter of thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for its financial support against the epidemic, Chinese President Xi Jinping said his country is now at “a critical juncture,” the China News Agency reported on Saturday.

China has so far downplayed the long-term impact of the epidemic on its economy, crippled by quarantine placements, blocked roads and lack of labor.

Chen Yulu, a vice-governor of the Chinese central bank (PBOC), said on Saturday he was convinced on public television CCTV that economic growth would “rebound” after the crisis.

Another vice-governor, Liu Guoqiang, told state press that the institution stood ready for further monetary easing, including an “adjustment” to its benchmark deposit rate.


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