France reports new spike in coronavirus deaths, bringing total to almost 2,000

on Friday reported that 299 more people had died in hospital from the epidemic over the last 24 hours, bringing the total from the epidemic in the country to 1,995. Top French health official Jerome Salomon told reporters that 32,964 people had tested positive for the virus so far in France, although the real number of cases is likely far higher as testing was reserved for high-risk patients.

French health authorities reported 299 new deaths from on Thursday, taking the total to 1,995, as the government has decided to extend by two weeks the national lockdown, now due to end on April 15 at the earliest.

The climb in the number of deaths represents a daily rise of 18%, a less-marked increase from the previous day.

This daily government tally only accounts for those dying in hospital but authorities said they would soon be able to compile data on deaths in retirement homes, which is likely to result in a big increase in registered fatalities.

During a press conference, health agency director Jerome Salomon added that the number of cases had risen to 32,964, a rise of 13% in 24 hours.

Salomon said 3,787 people were in a serious condition needing life support, up 12% compared to Thursday and meaning that close to half of France's 8,000 beds equipped with ventilation gear are occupied.





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