Europe’s coronavirus death toll tops 30,000 as young patients die of disease

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has killed more than 30,000 people in Europe, more than three-quarters of the deaths registered in Italy and Spain, according to a new tally by the press agency AFP published on Wednesday.

A total of 30,063 deaths have been recorded in Europe out of 458,601 cases, making it the continent hit hardest by the pandemic, according to the report using official figures.

The most deaths were recorded in Italy, with 12,428 fatalities with 101,739 confirmed cases, followed by Spain with 8,189, with 85,195 confirmed cases and France with 3,523 with 43,977 confirmed cases.

Germany has 61,913 confirmed cases with 583 deaths.

Most of Europe is now in total or partial lockdown to slow the spread of the virus and prevent health services being overwhelmed, though a few countries – notably Sweden and Belarus – have largely carried on with life as normal.

Italy, which was the first to announce a nationwide lockdown three weeks ago, now appears to have flattened the curve of infection. Cases are still increasing in the country, but the rate at which they are increasing appears to have levelled off meaning the situation there should begin to ease.

However, the outlook for the continent as a whole is bleak, with infection and death rates still accelerating in Spain, France, Germany, Belgium and the UK.

Meanwhile countries such as Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Poland, Denmark, and Sweden have reported steady increases in cases – meaning more deaths will follow.

The latest European figures follow reports of young people without any prior health conditions who had died of the coronavirus disease.

Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, a 13-year-old boy, died in London of the disease on Monday. He is believed to be the United Kingdom’s youngest coronavirus victim.

“Ismail was only 13 years old without any pre-existing health conditions and sadly he died without any family members close by due to the highly infectious nature of Covid 19,” the family said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Ismail started showing symptoms and had difficulties breathing and was admitted to King’s College Hospital [in London].

“He was put on a ventilator and then put into an induced coma but sadly died yesterday morning. To our knowledge he had no underlying health conditions. We are beyond devastated.”

While the new coronavirus mostly affects older people and people with underlying health conditions, a minority of victims have been younger, including children.

La Repubblica, an Italian daily, reported that Luca Di Nicola, an Italian 19-year-old assistant chef, died in a London hospital on March 24.

Di Nicola’s father told the newspaper that the teenager had no underlying health conditions.

In the UK, there are more than 25,000 cases of coronavirus and at least 1,789 people have died after testing positive, according to government figures.

Austin Ohaegbu

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