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Girl, 12, becomes 'youngest coronavirus death in Europe'
31 March 2020, 12:04
A 12-year-old girl has died after contracting the coronavirus in Belgium, making her the youngest known victim of the pandemic in Europe.
Speaking at a press conference today, national crisis centre spokesman Emmanuel Andre said she was by far the youngest to have perished in the country, and she died three days after developing a fever.
Belgium has so far had 705 deaths from Covid-19, 98 of those in the past 24 hours.
More than 12,700 cases have also been confirmed in the country with a population of 11.8 million people.
An emotional Mr Andre said: "Today, we have a painful announcement for you. It is an emotionally difficult moment, because it involves a child, and it has also upset the medical and scientific community.
"We are thinking of her family and friends. It is an event that is very rare, but one which upsets us greatly."
Belgian health bosses believe the country will experience the peak of its outbreak in the coming days.
Mr Andre added: "We will arrive at a point where we're close to saturation point at our hospitals."
The girl's identity has not been made public, and it is not yet known if she had any underlying health conditions.
Before her death, the youngest known European victim was a 14-year-old boy in Portugal, who died on Sunday. He had underlying health conditions.
A 16-year-old girl - who had no known health conditions - also died in a Parisian children's hospital where she was being treated for Covid-19.
So far in the UK, the youngest victim was an 18-year-old in Coventry who had underlying health problems.