France says intensive care patients are lowest in three weeks

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(Bloomberg) – France reported that the number of patients in intensive care due to the coronavirus epidemic fell to its lowest level in three weeks, while new deaths from the virus decreased from the previous day.

Critical care patients fell from 250 to 5,433, health director Jerome Salomon said during a briefing in Paris on Tuesday. The number of intensive care patients, which Solomon said is an indicator of the impact of the epidemic on the country’s hospital system, fell for the 13th day to the lowest since March 30.

Deaths from the virus increased from 531 to 20,796 deaths. The number of hospital patients fell for a seventh day to 30,106, the lowest in nearly two weeks.

France became the fourth country on Monday to report more than 20,000 deaths from the pandemic, behind Italy, Spain and the United States. As the number of patients in hospitals and intensive care decreases, Salomon credited the foreclosure and social distancing measures for slowing down the outbreak.

The health ministry was unable to provide an updated number for the total number of coronavirus cases in France, citing a lack of data from nursing homes on Tuesday, although the number of people tested positive in hospitals increased by 2,667. Daily figures for coronavirus in France fluctuated amid inconsistent reports from nursing homes, which were included for the first time in the count this month, with a total of 178,774 cases in the country on Monday.

The country will unveil plans within two weeks to gradually lift restrictions to curb the epidemic, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Sunday. Neighboring Italy, the hardest hit country in Europe, will present a plan this week to ease its foreclosure, with a restart starting the first week of May.

France has been in detention since March 17 and President Emmanuel Macron announced last week that the sequestration measures would be extended until May 11.

(Adds cases of coronavirus to the fifth paragraph.)

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