By Chris York
Authorities in Belgium say a 12-year-old girl has died of coronavirus, the youngest known victim of the disease in Europe so far.
It is not yet known whether she had any underlying health conditions.
Announcing the news on Tuesday, national coronavirus crisis-centre spokesperson Emmanuel Andre said it was “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,” the Associated Press reported Andre said.
No details about the girl were provided.
In Belgium, 98 people had died from the disease over the last 24 hours, bringing the total toll to 705 in a country of about 11.5m people. More than 12,705 cases have been confirmed in total so far.
Andre said that Belgian authorities expect the spread of the disease to reach its peak in coming days, and that “we will arrive at a point where we’re close to saturation point at our hospitals”.