Paris              -             The first French doctor battling the coronavirus has died as the death toll in the country spiralled to 674 Sunday.

With the outbreak spreading to eight regions -- and 112 more dying in a single day -- authorities admitted their count does not include those who died at home and in old people’s homes. “We are looking at an epidemic that is widening and escalating,” the head of the health service Jerome Salomon said.

With hospitals flooded with 7,240 victims, the military are having to transfer some from the worst-hit areas. “The virus kills and it is continuing to kill,” Salomon added.

The 67-year-old emergency room medic who died worked at Compiegne hospital, north of Paris, the town’s mayor told AFP.

He was hailed as a hero by his family for coming back from holiday to treat the first major outbreak in the country.

Mayor Philippe Marini said that Madagascar-born Jean-Jacques Razafindranazy “came back to work voluntarily to treat people and knew he was taking a risk”.