Thursday, December 2, 2021

Europe’s oldest person survives Covid to celebrate 117th birthday

French nun Sister Andre says she wasn't scared as she wasn't afraid to die.

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A French nun who is Europe’s oldest person has survived Covid-19, just days before her 117th birthday.

Lucile Randon, who took the name of Sister Andre in 1944, tested positive for coronavirus on Jan 16 but didn’t develop any symptoms.

She told local media “I didn’t even realise I had it.”

She isolated separately from other residents in her retirement home in Toulon, southern France, but is now considered fully recovered after three weeks.

Once doctors declared her no longer infected, she was allowed to attend Mass.

Sister Andre, who is blind and uses a wheelchair, is now looking forward to celebrating her birthday on Thursday, although she is going to mark the occasion with a smaller group of residents than usual.

“She has been very lucky,” said David Tavella, spokesman for the Sainte Catherine Labouré retirement home.

He told Var Matin newspaper that when she was told she would have to go into isolation, “She didn’t ask me about her health, but about her habits. For example, she wanted to know if meal or bedtime schedules would change.

“She showed no fear of the disease. On the other hand, she was very concerned about the other residents.”

Sister Andre was born on Feb 11, 1904. As well as being Europe’s oldest person, she is also the second-oldest living person in the world, according to the Gerontology Research Group’s (GRG) World Supercentenarian Rankings List which validates details of people thought to be 110 or older.

When asked by French broadcaster BFM if she was scared of having Covid-19, Sister Andre said: “No, I wasn’t scared, because I wasn’t scared to die. I’m happy to be with you, but I would wish to be somewhere else – to join my big brother, and my grandfather and my grandmother.”

Not all of the home’s residents shared Sister Andre’s luck.

According to Var-Matin, in January 81 of the 88 residents tested positive for the virus, and 10 of them died.

The GRG says the oldest person in the world is Japan’s Kane Tanaka, who turned 118 on Jan 2.

The world’s 20 oldest people on the GRG list are all female.

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