France reports 987 additional deaths at Covid-19, 13,000 dead


Medical personnel evacuated a patient infected with Covid-19 in a French military helicopter last month. (Photo AP)

PARIS: France reported on Friday 987 additional Covid-19 deaths recorded in hospitals and nursing homes in the past 24 hours, although the number of intensive care patients declined for the second consecutive day.

The new deaths – including 554 in hospitals and 433 in nursing homes – have brought the total death toll in France to 13,197 since the start of the epidemic, senior health official Jérôme Salomon told reporters.

A child under the age of 10 infected with Covid-19 has died, but Salomon said the causes of death were “multiple.”

In better news, Salomon said there are now 62 fewer people in intensive care for a total of 7,004 patients, continuing a trend seen for the first time on Thursday.

“It’s a pale ray of sunshine,” said Solomon. “But this shy light is very important for all medical personnel. “

He added: “A plateau seems to be taking hold – a very high plateau with a very dynamic epidemic. “

France has been blocked since March 17 in order to slow the spread of the epidemic, only essential travel being authorized and having to be justified by a signed sheet of paper.

“We have started to see the first effects of the isolation in recent days,” said Solomon, noting “a slight slowdown in the epidemic.”

French President Emmanuel Macron is to address the nation on Monday for the third time during the crisis.

He is expected to announce that the lockout will be extended past its current expiration date, April 15.

Macron will have to follow a cautious path amidst timid signs of improvement, telling people that they should always stay at home while giving directions on how imprisonment can end.

The president held a video conference on Friday with business groups and union leaders to prepare his speech.

Macron had “two messages.” Now is not the time to let your guard down because confinement is the way to stop the epidemic. But you have to think about ending the lockout, even if it seems that we are not there yet, “said Yves Veyrier, head of the FO union.

On Friday, French authorities transferred 45 other patients by two high-speed TGV trains to the southwest of the country in an effort to relieve pressure on struggling hospitals in the Paris region.

Some 200 patients have already been evacuated by road, rail or air from the Paris region since April 1. The southwest of the country is one of the areas least affected by the virus.

The situation in nursing homes remains extremely worrying.

Aurélien Rousseau, the highest health official in the Ile-de-France region in Paris and the surrounding area, said Friday that more than 400 of the region’s 700 nursing homes had registered at least one Covid-19 case.

Meanwhile, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle has registered 50 cases of new coronaviruses among the crew, the Armed Forces ministry announced on Friday.

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