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Europe's oldest person - a 116-year-old French nun - survives COVID-19

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Sister Andre, Lucille Randon in the registry of birth, talks to journalists during an event to celebrate her 116th birthday in Toulon, southern France. Feb. 11, 2020
Sister Andre, Lucille Randon in the registry of birth, talks to journalists during an event to celebrate her 116th birthday in Toulon, southern France. Feb. 11, 2020   -   Copyright  GERARD JULIEN/AFP or licensors
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A 116-year-old French nun who is believed to be Europe’s oldest person has survived COVID-19 and is looking forward to celebrating her 117th birthday on Thursday.

The Gerontology Research Group, which validates details of people thought to be 110 or older, lists Frenchwoman Lucile Randon — Sister André's birth name — as the second-oldest known living person in the world.

French media reported that the nun tested positive for coronavirus in mid-January in the southern French city of Toulon. But just three weeks later, she is considered recovered.

“I didn’t even realise I had it,” she told French newspaper Var-Matin.

Sister André, who is blind and uses a wheelchair, did not appear worried when she received her diagnosis.

“She didn’t ask me about her health, but about her habits,” David Tavella, the communications manager for the care home where the nun lives, told the newspaper.

“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.”

But not all of the home's residents had the same experience of the virus as Sister André. In January, 81 of the 88 residents tested positive for the virus, and about 10 of them died, according to Var-Matin.

Once doctors had confirmed the nun was no longer infected, she was allowed to attend Mass.