France becomes the fourth country with more than 20,000 deaths from coronavirus

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A man, wearing a protective mask, walks past people lining up in front of a Biocoop grocery store in Fontenay-sous-Bois while the spread of the coronavirus continues in France, April 20, 2020. REUTERS / Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) – France officially recorded more than 20,000 deaths from the coronavirus on Monday, becoming the fourth country to exceed this threshold after Italy, Spain and the United States, and the rate of increase in deaths and infections accelerated after several days of slowing down.

“The epidemic is very deadly and far from over,” said French public health chief Jerome Salomon during a press briefing, adding that the death toll was now higher than that of the wave of heat of summer 2003.

He said the number of people in intensive care had dropped for the 12th consecutive day, to 5,683 – the lowest since March 31 – suggesting that the national lockdown has positive effects to contain the disease.

Another encouraging sign was the drop for the sixth consecutive day of people hospitalized for COVID-19, although the total, at 30,584 compared to 30,610 on Sunday, is decreasing only slowly.

While France must begin to cancel certain containment measures from May 11, Salomon stressed the importance of strictly respecting the lock.

He said coronavirus-related deaths were up 2.8% to 20,265 after an increase of 2.0% on Sunday. The United States has killed more than 41,000 people, Italy 24,114 and Spain 20,852. The global death toll stands at more than 165,000.

The number of confirmed cases increased by 1.8% in France to 114,657 and the possible rest home cases increased by 1.1% to 40,726, for a total of 155,383, up 1.6% in 24 hours after an increase of 0.7% on Sunday.

Solomon also said that the virus’s reproduction rate dropped from three at the start of the epidemic, before the lock was put in place, to less than one.

“The pandemic is making fewer people sick than before. This is how we can contain it and then reduce it, “he said.

Report by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Chris Reese and Giles Elgood

Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.

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