A 16-year-old French schoolgirl with no underlying medical conditions has become the youngest person to die of coronavirus in Europe.
Tributes were today being paid to the teen, named as Julie A, describing her as “bright and much loved”.
She succumbed to respiratory problems in a Paris hospital on Wednesday after first developing a “slight cough” a week ago.
Her sister Manon said she had not suffered from any illnesses beforehand.
Manon spoke out to warn people the virus can affect people of all ages and ‘no one is invincible’.
“We must stop believing that his virus only affects the elderly,” said her heartbroken sister, Manon.
The Necker Hospital in Paris, France (file photo)
(Image: ABACA/PA Images)
“No one is invincible against this mutant virus. Julie just had a slight cough last week. It got worse last weekend with mucus and on Monday we went to see a general practitioner.
“It was there that she was diagnosed with respiratory distress. She had no particular illnesses before this.”
Manon agreed to speak to the Parisien newspaper, and to release a photograph of her sister, because she wanted to warn others about the risk of coronavirus to young people.
Until now, many have thought that only the elderly are in danger of dying because of the virus.
Julie sadly died in a Paris hospital
Julie was from Longjumeau, Essonne, south of Paris, and was studying at high school while living with her family.
She was transferred to the Necker hospital in Paris.
“[Her] lungs failed,” Manon said. “The doctors did everything they could but it was impossible to wake her up.”
Manon and her mother arrived at the hospital after Julie’s death.
“It was violent,” she said. “We had time to see her, but we quickly had to think about the future.”
Julie’s funeral will take place on Monday in her home town, but with “only ten people maximum”.
Manon said Julie was “bright and much loved” and “loved to dance, sing, and make people laugh.”
A schoolfriend said Julie was “a very sociable, funny, kind, ambitious girl who was loved by everyone in high school.”
On Thursday, the French authorities said 365 people had been killed by COVID-19 over the previous 24 hours, taking the national total of those who have died in hospital to 1,696.
The figure does not include those who have died from the virus at home or at retirement homes, health official Jerome Salomon said.
France has been in lockdown since March 17 in a bid to slow the spread of the epidemic.