Switzerland registered two new deaths from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, including the child, the new head of the country's coronavirus crisis response, Stefan Kuster, told reporters.
The child, whose name or age were not released, lived in the canton of Aargau. He was infected with Covid-19 in Macedonia and air-lifted to the Children's Hospital in Zurich for treatment, according to reports.
Christoph Berger, the head of the hospital’s Infectious Diseases and Hospital Hygiene Department, said the baby suffered from “a serious neurological illness”, which can be caused by various viruses.
The infant tested positive for Covid-19 and the hospital is investigating whether the coronavirus caused his death.
“This was not a school-age child. It was an infant who died,” Kuster told reporters.
“Children are less likely to fall ill (with COVID-19) than adults, and they are less infectuous,” Kuster said, noting however that “such cases are possible.”
According to the ATS news agency, two other school-aged children, a brother and sister, contracted the virus near Basel, forcing 70 people into isolation.
Infant deaths from the coronavirus are extremely rare.
However, a mysterious condition that could be linked to Covid-19 has been reported in hundreds of children in North America and several European countries.
Earlier this month a nine-year-old boy, with an underlying health condition, died in France from the Kawasaki-like disease believed to be linked to coronavirus. It was the first such death in the country as similar child fatalities are being investigated in New York and London.
Doctors in France stressed these cases concern “very few children so they should not cause undue worry”.
In Switzerland, 104 children under 10 have been tested positive for coronavirus earlier in May. But the real number may be higher, as not everyone has symptoms that warrant testing.
And several children in Switzerland have been hospitalised with a mysterious inflammatory disease that affects the small arteries. Only one of these children had tested positive for Covid-19.
Children should see a doctor if they have fever for more than two days and associated symptoms, he said.
Switzerland has now registered more than 30,700 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and 1,656 deaths.
More to follow