Coronavirus death toll in France reaches 450 as French are told to stay home this weekend

As the coronavirus death toll in France rose to 450 on Friday, French authorities urged everyone to stay put and not go away for the weekend.

Coronavirus death toll in France reaches 450 as French are told to stay home this weekend
French soldiers instal a military field hospital outside The Emile Muller Hospital in Mulhouse, a COVID-19 infection hotspot in the east of France, on March 20, 2020. Photo: AFP

“Don't go away this weekend, stay at home,” said Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon on Friday evening, as he confirmed that 78 more people had died in the last 24 hours.

Of the total 450 deaths, 87 percent were aged more than 70, according to Salomon.

He explained that the positive effects of the lockdown were not immediate and that the virus was still spreading quickly all over the country.

 “We expect a peak of at between five-eight days, but it will be between 10-22 days before we see how effective the changes in behaviour have been,” he said. 

It was “possible” that the government would extend the lockdown period, according to Salomon.


The total number of people having tested positive for the coronavirus had passed 12,600 people on Friday, although France has limited their testing to people who fall into certain groups.

Over 5,200 people were currently hospitalised, 1,297 of which were in intensive care. Half of these were under 60 years old.

On a more positive note, the number fully recovered people had increased to 1,587.
The recovery rate of the coronavirus in France is about 98 percent.
Salomon said people should keep to their current area and avoid potentially putting more pressure on hospitals in rural areas that might lack the necessary equipment to “handle seriously ill people.”

READ ALSO Coronavirus testing in France – how does it work and who gets tested?

Salomon also said that “télémédecine” – online doctor's appointments – would be “100 percent reimbursed” by French social security.

The announcement came the same day as France's interior minister Christophe Castaner warned that application lockdown rules would be “reinforced,” with police controls in “all train stations and airports.”

Castaner also repeated that the lockdown period would “likely” be prolonged, like government spokesperson Sibeth Ndaye had also said earlier that same day.

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French public urged to wear face masks again on public transport

With France in the middle of a new wave of Covid-19, the country's health minister has urged the public to once again wear face masks on public transport and in crowded spaces.

French public urged to wear face masks again on public transport

With cases on the rise again, French Health Minister Brigitte Bourguignon said she is “[asking] the French to put masks back on in transport” in an interview with RTL on Monday, 

For the time being, however, she stressed it was just advice, rather than an obligation, and masks have in fact been recommended on public transport since the legal requirement to wear them was lifted in May. 

However with France reporting over 50,000 daily cases of Covid-19 the government is clearly concerned by the current wave of the pandemic.

Bourguignon said that “we must protect ourselves and protect others,” adding that wearing a mask is “a civic gesture.”

She urged people to don their masks as soon as they see a crowded train or station.

READ MORE: Return of the health pass? How France plans to tackle new wave of Covid cases

In addition to public transport, Bourguignon is also asking the French to once again mask-up in “all crowded, enclosed areas.”

Currently, masks are only required in hospitals, health centres and places that have vulnerable residents such as nursing homes. They are recommended in crowded spaces where it is impossible to practice social distancing.