France's Covid-19 toll sees slight decrease based on revised care home data
France revised its total death toll from the coronavirus pandemic to 28,022 on Tuesday, down from 28,239 a day earlier, as the government adjusted data provided by regional health authorities.
The health ministry reported 125 deaths in hospitals over the most recent 24-hour period but said that 342 fatalities previously recorded in care homes had been reclassified as resulting from "other causes".
The overall death toll therefore fell by 217 to 28,022, while the number of confirmed cases rose to 143,427 from 142,903 a day earlier.
The ministry said the number of people in hospitals fell to 18,468 from 19,015 on Monday and the number of people in intensive care units dropped to 1,894 from 1,998.
Both numbers — key indicators for the French health system’s ability to cope with the epidemic — have been on a downtrend for five weeks and peaked at more than 32,000 and more than 7,000 respectively in early to mid-April.
Speaking for the first time since a strict nationwide lockdown ended on May 11, the ministry's top official Jérôme Salomon warned people to maintain a safe distance when socialising with friends and family not seen in weeks.
"The virus is still there, and it is murderous," he said, urging people who invite friends to their home to wear masks, air out the house after their friends leave and disinfect contact surfaces such as doorknobs.
No surge in infections since end of lockdown
On the ninth day after a 55-day lockdown ended, the number of new coronavirus infections recorded has not picked up significantly compared with the last week of lockdown.
Confirmed cases went up by 0.4% on Tuesday, slightly more than the average 0.3% per day seen since the end of lockdown, but well below the average 0.8% recorded in the last two weeks of lockdown.
In the first two weeks following the start of lockdown on March 17, the number of infections increased by 15% to 20% per day, with a peak of 7,578 new infections on March 31.
Italy, which ended its lockdown a week before France, saw the infection rate fall to an average 0.4% in the second week post-lockdown compared with 0.6% in the first week.
Spain too has seen infection rates slow down since lockdown ended two weeks ago. On Tuesday, Spain's case count rose by just 0.1% to 232,037.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)
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