The first European infected with coronavirus died on Friday evening February 21 in Italy, while the number of new infections fell in China but almost doubled in South Korea.

Adriano Trevisan, 78-year-old retired mason, died in Veneto, in northern Italy, after ten days of hospitalization for a disease other than Covid-19, according to the Italian Minister of Health , Roberto Speranza. After his hospitalization, he had tested positive for the coronavirus.

The announcement of his death was made in the aftermath of a wind of panic in Italy: fifteen patients were listed, bringing to twenty the total number in the country, the most affected in Europe. The authorities then closed public places in eleven cities in northern Italy.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, questioned in Brussels by the Italian press, wanted to be reassuring by stressing that Italy "applies a very high level of precaution".

The first person dead in Europe after being infected by this epidemic, which appeared in December in Wuhan, in the center of China, was a Chinese tourist, originating from the province of Hubei, of which Wuhan is the capital. Arrived in France on January 23, this 80 year old man had died in Paris on February 14. The death was "the first outside Asia, the first in Europe", as the French Minister of Health, Agnès Buzyn had pointed out.

Coronavirus Expands in South Korea

Italy is not the only country where concern is growing over the expansion of the coronavirus. In South Korea, a second death was deplored on Saturday, and the number of infections jumped for the second consecutive day, rising to a total of 346 with 142 new cases listed, according to the report announced on Saturday morning by the southern health authorities -coréennes.

Among these new 142 cases, 92 are linked to a hospital in Cheongdo, in the south of the country, where a religious act was carried out three weeks ago of a Christian sect, the Church of Shincheonji of Jesus.

In total, more than 150 members of this Christian sect have been infected. The first of these to have been a 61-year-old woman, who was unaware of having contracted viral pneumonia and would have transmitted the virus, notably by attending religious services.

Elsewhere in the world, the outbreaks of the disease continued to swarm, with Friday a first confirmed case in Lebanon and Israel, and two additional deaths in Iran (four in total).

The boss of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, sounded the alarm on Friday in Geneva: "As we speak, 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.

The number of cases in China is decreasing

In mainland China, on the other hand, by far the country most affected by viral pneumonia, the hour is slowing down. Health authorities announced on Saturday morning 109 new deaths, against 118 the day before, for a national total of 2,345.

The daily number of new cases of contamination by coronavirus in China is still further falling, with 397 new cases against nearly 900 Friday.

The decline comes after Hubei officials have been instructed to revise some of their figures for the past few days to dispel "doubts" about the data regarding the course of the disease. This is the last change in the counting method after several others, which somewhat complicates monitoring of the epidemic.

Officially, the number of contaminations throughout mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macao) is more than 76,000.

Outside mainland China and two cases in Europe, twelve deaths have been recorded: 4 in Iran, 2 in Hong Kong, 2 on board the liner Diamond Princess quarantined in Japan, and one person in four Asian countries (Korea South, Japan, Philippines and Taiwan).

Slightly more than 1,300 contaminations have also been identified worldwide outside mainland China.

With AFP

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