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 16 January. She was isolated from other residents, but displayed no symptoms.
She told Var-Matin newspaper “I didn’t even realise I had it.”
Asked if she was scared to have Covid, 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.”
David Tavella, spokesman for the Sainte Catherine Labouré retirement home, said she was doing well.
“We consider her to be cured. She is very calm and she is looking forward to celebrating her 117th birthday on Thursday.”
He said 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.
Andre, who was born on 11 February 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 2 January.
The world’s 20 oldest people in the GRG list are all female.