France Reports First Coronavirus Death Outside Of Asia

A lab technician works on samples being tested in Wuhan. AFP

An elderly Chinese tourist in France has died after contracting the COVID-19 coronavirus, becoming the first fatality outside of the Asia-Pacific region in an epidemic that has killed more than 1,500 people in mainland China.

In another drastic preventive measure, China's central bank said on Saturday that used banknotes were being disinfected with ultraviolet light or high temperatures, and stored for up to 14 days before they are put back into circulation. But it was not immediately clear how that would be enforced, or whether the restrictions would apply to non-residents or foreigners arriving from overseas.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said that China is running more than 80 trials to find treatment for the COVID-19.

"China has bought the world time. But it's slowing the spread to the rest of the world", said Dr Tedros.

"We're concerned by the continued increase of the number of cases in China", he added.

A top Chinese official, in an interview with Reuters, acknowledged that the coronavirus was a huge challenge, but defended the government's management of it and lashed out at the "over-reaction" of some countries.

His daughter was also hospitalized but authorities say she is expected to recover.

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"Through our efforts the epidemic is overall under control", he said.

The total number of confirmed cases in the country now stands at 66,492, according to China's National Health Commission.

On 31 December 2019, Wuhan Municipality in Hubei Province, China reported a cluster of pneumonia cases with unknown etiology.

A coronavirus patient in France has died, marking the first death in Europe attributed to the virus.

The virus is killing about 2 percent of those infected and has spread faster than other respiratory viruses that emerged this century.

The death toll from a strain of coronavirus - also known as Covid-19 - in mainland China has passed 1,500 after health authorities reported another 143 deaths early on Saturday morning.

One patient in Hong Kong, three in Macao and one in Taiwan have been discharged from hospital after recovery.

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