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First COVID-19 death reported in Belgium

First COVID-19 death reported in Belgium

Medical staff take samples to a driver at a "drive-through" testing facility for COVID-19 at the "Hopital de la Citadelle" hospital in Liege, on Mar 10, 2020. (Photo: ERIC LALMAND / BELGA / AFP)

BRUSSELS: Belgium has recorded its first death from the novel coronavirus strain that is sweeping the globe, health officials said Wednesday (Mar 11).

Maggie De Block, health minister in the caretaker federal government, said the victim was 90 years old.

The ministry is to hold a news conference later in the day, but as of Tuesday Belgium had recorded 267 cases of the coronavirus strain that causes COVID-19 disease.

China remains the hardest-hit country overall with more than 80,000 cases and 3,000 deaths, out of 117,339 cases and 4,251 fatalities worldwide.

But the virus is spreading rapidly in Europe, in particular in Italy, where the death toll had risen Tuesday by a third to 631.

Belgium's first death was in Brussels, which in addition to being the Belgian capital is home to the headquarters of the European Union and the NATO alliance.

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Source: AFP/ga

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