Italy: First Death of a European affected by Coronavirus

General News
Two women walk past a wall message that says, "There is an epidemic of ignorance in the air, we have to protect ourselves", by artist Laika, near Rome's Chinatown

This 78-year-old retired mason died in Veneto on Friday 21st February, after ten days of hospitalisation. This death brings to 2345 the number of deaths linked to the virus.

The first European infected with coronavirus died on Friday 21st February 2020 in Italy. At the same time, the number of new infections drops in China but almost doubles in South Korea.

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

Wind of panic in Italy

The announcement of his death was made in the aftermath of the 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, interviewed in Brussels by the Italian press, said he was reassured 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 (central China), was a Chinese tourist, originating from the province of Hubei, of which Wuhan is the capital.

Arrived in France on January 23rd, this 80 year old man had died in Paris on February 14th. This death was “the first outside Asia, the first in Europe”, as the French Minister of Health, Agnès Buzyn had pointed out.


If fear grips Europe a little more, it is also because the World Health Organization (WHO) is worried about the difficulty of containing the spread of the epidemic.

The head of the 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.

It must be said that the foci 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).

Religious sect

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.

A man wearing a mask on a street in Seoul, February 19, 2020.
A man wearing a mask on a street in Seoul, February 19, 2020. (© AFP / Archives / Jung Yeon-je)

2,345 deaths in China

In mainland China, on the other hand, by far the country most affected by viral pneumonia, the hour is slowing down. Health authorities announced Saturday morning 109 new deaths, against 118 the day before, for a national total of 2345.

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.

14 deaths outside China

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 in South Korea, 2 on the liner Diamond Princess quarantined in Japan, and one person in three other Asian countries (Japan, Philippines and Taiwan).

A little over 1,300 contaminations have also been identified worldwide outside mainland China.

A member of the medical staff in front of an incubator between buildings of a Beijing hospital, February 21, 2020.
A member of the medical staff in front of an incubator between buildings of a Beijing hospital, February 21, 2020. (© AFP / GREG BAKER)

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