Europe's oldest person, 117-year-old French nun, survives COVID-19

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PARIS, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Europe's oldest person, French nun Sister Andre, has survived COVID-19 and will celebrate her 117th birthday this week, her caregivers said.

Lucile Randon, who took the name of Sister Andre when she joined a Catholic charitable order in 1944, tested positive for coronavirus in her retirement home in Toulon, southern France, on Jan. 16. She was isolated from other residents, but displayed no symptoms.

Asked if she was scared to have COVID, Sister Andre told France's BFM television, "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 – join my big brother and my grandfather and my grandmother."

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David Tavella, spokesman for the Sainte Catherine Labouré retirement home, said she was doing well.

Europe's oldest person, 117-year-old nun Lucile Randon, also known as Sister Andre, who survived the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is interviewed in Toulon, France February 9, 2021 in this still image taken from video. BFMTV/Reuters TV via REUTERS

"We consider her to be cured. She is very calm and she is looking forward to celebrating her 117th birthday on Thursday."

He said Sister Andre, who is blind but very spirited, will celebrate her birthday with a smaller group of residents than usual because of coronavirus infection risk.

"She has been very lucky," he added.

Sister Andre, who was born on Feb. 11, 1904, is the world's second-oldest living person according to the Gerontology Research Group's (GRG) World Supercentenarian Rankings List. The oldest person is Japan's Kane Tanaka, who turned 118 on Jan. 2.

The world's 20 oldest people in the GRG list are all female.

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Reporting by Geert De Clercq Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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