Ex-WHO Director Anthony Costello slams lack of mass testing for coronavirus

Coronavirus: 12-year-old girl becomes youngest known person to die in Europe

‘It is an event that is very rare, but one which upsets us greatly,’ says doctor

Chiara Giordano
Tuesday 31 March 2020 12:19
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A 12-year-old girl in Belgium has become the youngest known person to die from coronavirus in Europe.

Announcing the news, Dr Emmanuel Andre, spokesman for the country’s coronavirus crisis centre, said it was “an emotionally difficult moment, because it involves a child, and it has also upset the medical and scientific community”.

He added: “We are thinking of her family and friends. It is an event that is very rare, but one which upsets us greatly.”

No further details about the girl were given.

Dr Andre said 98 people had died from the disease in Belgium over the last 24 hours, bringing the total toll to 705 in a country of about11.5 million people.

More than 12,705 cases have been confirmed in total so far.

Dr Andre said Belgian authorities expect the spread of the disease to reach its peak in coming days, adding: “We will arrive at a point where we’re close to saturation point at our hospitals.”

An increasing number of European hospitals are said to be buckling under the strain of tens of thousands of coronavirus patients.

Experts claim the Covid-19 outbreak has exposed some of the world’s best health systems are ill-equipped to deal with a pandemic.

Brice de le Vingne, director of operations for Doctors Without Borders in Belgium, said: “If you have cancer, you want to be in a European hospital.

“But Europe hasn’t had a major outbreak in more than 100 years, and now they don’t know what to do.”

Mr De le Vingne and others say Europe’s approach to combating the new coronavirus was initially too lax and severely lacking in epidemiological basics like contact tracing.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.

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