PARIS: A second person suffering from the coronavirus has died in France and a Frenchman who had travelled to Italy's Lombardy region had also tested positive, the country's health authorities said on Wednesday (Feb 26).
Jerome Salomon said the death was one of three new cases in France this week, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 17.
A 60-year-old French national was hospitalised in Paris in a serious condition and tested for the virus late on Tuesday. "Unfortunately (he) died during the night", said the health ministry's deputy head.
The man was a teacher at a junior high school in the town of Crepy-en-Valois, about 80km northeast of Paris. He had not travelled to an area affected by the global coronavirus outbreak, said Etienne Champion, director general of the health agency of the Hauts-de-France region.
After feeling unwell he stopped work from Feb 12 - at the start of the mid-term school holidays. He was tested for the coronavirus in the emergency ward of a Paris hospital on Tuesday, shortly before he died.
The first coronavirus death in France was an 80-year-old Chinese tourist who died mid-February.
Coronavirus cases in people who travelled recently to northern Italy have now been found in France, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Romania, Croatia and Algeria.
A Frenchman who travelled to Lombardy was hospitalised in Strasbourg and was not in a serious condition, Salomon said. The third new case involved a 55-year-old now on life support in the city of Amiens, in northern France.
France has reported four other new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, including two people returning from Italy, bringing the total number of infections to 17.
Eleven other people in France have recovered from the disease, which has killed more than 2,600 people worldwide and infected almost 80,000 others, mainly in China.
One of the four people still being treated in hospital, a 55-year-old man, is listed in critical condition in the northern city of Amiens.
Two of the four had recently returned from the Lombardy region of Italy, which is at the centre of Europe's biggest outbreak of the disease with 10 dead.
The French government has asked citizens returning from Lombardy and the neighbouring Veneto region to avoid "all non-essential outings" and keep their children home from school.
The same recommendations have been issued from people returning from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and South Korea.