Germany has confirmed the first two death from the novel coronavirus in the western German city of Essen and virus hotspot Heinsberg.
Officials told AFP on Monday that an 89-year-old woman who had been diagnosed with the virus on March 3 died despite medical measures to support her breathing and circulation.
“I regret this death very much,” mayor Thomas Kufen said in a statement, offering his condolences to the woman’s family and friends.
Both fatalities occurred in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state along the border with Belgium and the Netherlands.
“The most effective tool against coronavirus is the time factor, slowing down its spread and spreading it over a longer period of time,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said.
She also reiterated government advice on measures such as avoiding bodily contact to reduce the risk of transmitting the disease.
The number of people testing positive for the coronavirus on Monday passed 1,000 in Europe’s top economy Germany.
But so far the only German national to die of the disease had been a 60-year-old tourist in Egypt.