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France reports fewer coronavirus hospital deaths in most recent 24-hour period

French Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon speaks during a news conference in Paris, France, on the eleventh day of a nationwide lockdown seeking to halt the spread of the coronavirus on March 28, 2020.
French Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon speaks during a news conference in Paris, France, on the eleventh day of a nationwide lockdown seeking to halt the spread of the coronavirus on March 28, 2020. © Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt, REUTERS

France on Saturday reported 441 coronavirus hospital deaths in 24 hours, lower than the record number of 588 recorded the previous day.

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This brought the total number of deaths to 7,560 since the epidemic began, top health official Jérôme Salomon told reporters. Of these, 5,532 died in hospital and 2,028 in old age facilities.

Salomon said there were now 28,143 people with coronavirus in hospital in France – up 711 from the day before, with 6,838 of them in intensive care – a daily increase of 176 critical patients.

France has been in lockdown since March 17 in a bid to slow the spread of the epidemic, with only essential trips allowed that must be justified with a signed piece of paper.

"The Covid-19 pandemic is completely unprecedented with thousands of serious cases and thousands of deaths," Salomon said.

There have been 68,605 confirmed coronavirus cases in France, but this is not the total as testing for the virus is not universal.

'Stay at home to save lives'

While there has been a slowing in the rate of new intensive care admissions, Salomon warned that "now is not the time to relax the effort. I tell you this evening: Stay at home to save lives."

"This slowdown of the increase is good news but we want a decrease. We still have more patients coming into ICUs every day, which means more pressure," he said.

Pressure was easing on the need to find new space in intensive case, according to Salomon. This trend was due to more people leaving, and was an important indicator of how hospitals were coping and using available resources.

"The number of people who have recovered is also increasing rapidly, because we have 15,438 people who have come out of hospital cured, and thousands of others who stayed confined at home and have also recovered," Salomon said.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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