French culture minister diagnosed with coronavirus

Franck Riester

French Culture Minister Franck Riester has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, the latest high-profile target for the disease.

Riester has tested positive for the virus but his health is good, said a statement by France’s Culture Ministry.

He reportedly attended the National Assembly last week. There are five MPs known to have coronavirus in the country, and they were also present at parliament last week.

The death toll in France has reached 25, with 1,412 diagnosed cases, up 286, the Health Ministry’s Jerome Salomon told a press conference.

Sixty-six of these are in critical condition, and 36 are on the island of Corsica.

According to French media, an 8-year-old school child in Paris has been diagnosed with the virus. Classmates have been asked not to come to school until March 17.

Meanwhile, French Ligue 1 team Olympic Lyon’s game with Reims on Friday will be played without spectators, the team said on social media.

Saying that the economy will be hard hit, Treasury Minister Bruno Le Maire said restaurants have lost 25% in income and hotels have lost 30-40% due to the outbreak.

“There are two ages of the world economy, before and after coronavirus,” he said. He added that affected companies will get tax breaks.

The global death toll due to coronavirus is around 3,800, with more than 110,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

As part of efforts to contain the outbreak, governments have closed borders and suspended land and air travel with the worst-hit countries, including China, Iran, and Italy.

After declaring the outbreak an international health emergency in January, the WHO last month updated the global risk level to “very high.”

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