Two More Die in France of Coronavirus, Bringing toll to 4 – report

Two people died in northern France of the novel coronavirus, bringing the French death toll from the disease to four, the Le Parisien newspaper reported Monday.

Both died in the Oise region of northern France, the report said, citing three sources, one of them the mayor of Compiegne.

One of the two recent deaths was said to be an elderly woman in a town that already lost a schoolteacher to the disease.

The woman, who was in her eighties, lived in Crepy-en-Valois, 70 kilometers northeast of Paris, where the 60-year-old teacher who died last week had been working.

There have been 130 confirmed cases of people infected with the virus, officially known as COVID-19, in France, of which 49 were diagnosed in the Oise region, making it the hardest hit area of the country.

In response to the outbreak, France has said it would ban gatherings of 5,000 people or more, closing schools and canceling religious services in some of the hardest-hit zones. Sunday’s half-marathon in Paris was canceled.

The Louvre — the world’s most visited museum — closed on Sunday and Monday after staff refused to work because of fears about the virus.

The virus has now infected more than 89,000 worldwide, spread to over 60 countries and is threatening to cause a global economic slowdown — after first emerging in China late last year.

Europe raised its state of alert on Monday as the death toll from the new coronavirus epidemic surpassed 3,000 and more people died in China, Iran and the US.

In Brussels, EU President Ursula von der Leyen said the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) had increased its risk assessment for Europeans after Italy’s outbreak doubled in 48 hours.

Health officials monitoring the virus at the ECDC announced that it had increased its risk assessment to “moderate to high.”

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said: “As of this morning, we have 2,100 confirmed cases in 18 EU member states and we have 38 citizens who have lost their lives.”

In Italy, Europe’s hardest-hit country, infections nearly doubled to around 1,700 cases over the weekend.

There have been 10 confirmed cases in Israel, but no deaths.

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