Health, Europe, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

Coronavirus: French lawmaker hospitalized

Paris increases precautions as conservative legislator falls ill, EU parliament temporarily moves to Belgium

06.03.2020
Coronavirus: French lawmaker hospitalized

PARIS 

A conservative member of France's National Assembly was hospitalized on Friday after contracting the novel coronavirus, with the outbreak escalating in the country.

Jean-Luc Reitzer is currently in intensive care in a hospital in Mulhouse, a city near the Swiss and German border which has seen a cluster of cases of COVID-19. His office confirmed Friday that he is now in "stable condition," according to the Politico EU news portal.

The official number of cases in France has risen to 423, with 23 in serious condition. The death toll stands at seven, with one death -- a 79-year-old man -- and 138 cases recorded on Thursday alone.

As a result of the spreading disease, the European parliament announced it would switch from its ordinary venue in Strasbourg, eastern France, to Brussels, Belgium, for its plenary session next week.

In a statement, European Parliament President David Sassoli said the health risk would be "significantly higher" if the session were to be held in Strasbourg, citing an updated report from the European Parliament's medical service on the evolution of the disease.

"The plenary session will exceptionally be held in Brussels," Sassoli added

Warning of the risk posed by a new strain of the virus, French President Emmanuel Macron said an epidemic in the country would be "inevitable."

France has announced it would enter the third and final stage on an urgency scale of preparing against and combating the virus.

Some 150 schools remain closed in France, concentrated in the Oise and Morbihan regions in the north. To date, the virus has claimed 3,381 lives and spread to 97,993 people in 87 countries.

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