France Coronavirus Deaths Exceed 19,000; Patients in ICU Decline

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Deaths in France linked to coronavirus cases rose by 642 to 19,323 fatalities, the country’s Health Ministry said in an emailed statement on Saturday, the smallest increase in five days. The number of reported infections rose by 5,715 to 173,956 cases.

France’s daily coronavirus figures have fluctuated amid inconsistent reporting from nursing homes, which were first included in the tally this month. The country’s fatalities are starting to approach the numbers in Spain, which on Saturday became the third country to report more than 20,000 deaths from the virus, after Italy and the U.S.

The country’s lockdown and social-distancing measures are “starting to bear fruit,” France’s Director General for Health Jerome Salomon said on Friday, even as he reiterated the virus continues to circulate at a high level. Falling numbers for patients in hospitals and in intensive care are positive signs, according to Salomon.

“The decline in the need for equipment and staffing for intensive care is confirmed, but we’re still at an exceptional level, far above the usual maximum in France,” the ministry said Saturday.

The number of people hospitalized in France due to the coronavirus fell for a fourth day to 30,639, decreasing the most yet. Patients in ICU beds, an indicator of the outbreak’s intensity and its impact on the country’s hospital system, fell for a 10th day to 5,833, the lowest since March 31, according to health ministry data.

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