‘We haven’t reached the peak’: Coronavirus deaths in France pass 10,000

The number of people who have died from coronavirus in France passed the 10,000 mark on Tuesday as another 607 patients died in hospital in the past 24 hours and hundreds more deaths in elderly nursing homes were reported.

'We haven't reached the peak': Coronavirus deaths in France pass 10,000
Photo: AFP

A total of 10,328 coronavirus deaths have been recorded in France since the epidemic began – 7,091 of them deaths in hospital and another 3,237 in the country's Ehpad nursing homes for the elderly.

The total for the number of coronavirus victims in nursing homes has risen sharply from the 2,417 reported on Monday.

France's Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon in his evening briefing on Tuesday also revealed that 7,131 coronavirus patients remain in intensive care.

Salomon warned “the epidemic is continuing its progression.”

“We are in the ascending phase of the epidemic, even if it is slowing a bit,” he said, adding “we have not yet reached the peak.”

The number of deaths in France appears to have shot up in recent days, but this is partly due to the fact that data on deaths in nursing homes has only become available in the last week, previously the death toll was made up entirely of people who had died in hospital.

Tuesday's daily hospital death toll of 607 almost the same as the 605 deaths reported on Monday but up on 441 and 357 reported on Saturday and Sunday respectively, leading to suggestions that deaths over the weekend had been under reported.

There was some positive news on the number of people in intensive care – which Salomon and other health experts have said is the key figure to watch – at 7,131 which represents an increase of just 59 from Monday.

That reflected the smallest jump in intensive care admissions since the lockdown began on March 17th and followed a trend in recent days of a slowing in the growth of patients in intensive care.

At the beginning of April the number of patients in intensive care was rising by several hundred each day.

While the elderly and people with underlying health conditions have always been considered at risk Salomon in his briefing also mentioned another risk factor: overweight people.

“There is indeed very often a risk factor between being overweight and the occurrence of severe forms of the virus,” he confirmed. “We must be careful that overweight people report a deterioration in their physical condition.”

He took the opportunity of Tuesday being World Health Day to pay tribute to France's healthcare workers, many of whom are working in difficult conditions as hospitals in certain areas struggle to cope with the number of patients.

A major evacuation operation is going on, both in military helicopters and specially adapted trains, to take patients out of the worst hit areas including Paris and eastern France to hospitals that have seen fewer cases.

IN NUMBERS The mass evacuation of coronavirus patients from France's overwhelmed hospitals

Among the worst hit départements is Seine-Saint-Denis on the outskirts of Paris, where president Emmanuel Macron visited on Tuesday.

After speaking to healthcare workers he chatted to locals who were out on their balconies, and thanked them for staying indoors.


It is now three weeks since France began its strict lockdown aimed at stopping the spread of the virus, but experts say it is too early to say whether cases of the virus have begun to slow, or when they might peak.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told parliament, meanwhile, that “the period of confinement will continue.”

The lockdown “is difficult for many French people, I am fully aware of this. But it is essential if we do not wish to find ourselves in an even worse situation than the one we are experiencing today,” he said. 

France's health minister Olivier Véran said: “We are convinced that the lockdown is saving lives.”

READ ALSO How and when will France's lockdown end?

Already tight regulations on daily life were tightening further on Tuesday with a ban on daytime jogging in Paris, a plan to make wearing face masks compulsory in some areas and the introduction of a travel certificate that is compulsory for anyone wanting to enter France.

In the north of France, the mayor of Marcq-en-Baroeul has made spitting in public, coughing or sneezing without covering one's face, and throwing used masks and gloves in the street punishable by a fine of 68 euros.

But France's Human Rights League said Tuesday it would take the mayor to court for what it considered a violation of fundamental human liberties.

And the Atlantic coastal resort city of Biarritz on Tuesday overturned a two-minute limit it had set for people to spend on public benches after widespread criticism.





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Paxlovid, tests and isolation: Covid care for tourists in France

With travel opening up, many people are planning trips to France over the next few months, but the Covid pandemic has not gone away. Here are your questions answered on testing, isolation and medical treatment if you do fall sick while on holiday.

Paxlovid, tests and isolation: Covid care for tourists in France

Travel rules

Covid-related travel rules have mostly been relaxed now but you will still need to show proof of being fully vaccinated at the French border. If you are not vaccinated you will need to show a negative Covid test – find the full breakdown of the rules HERE.


Once in France if you develop symptoms or you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive you will need to get a Covid test.

The good news is that testing is widely available in France, both for residents and tourists.

The easiest way to get a test is head to a pharmacy, most of which offer the rapid-result antigen test on a walk-in basis Tests are available to everyone who wants one, there is no need to fulfill any set criteria.

For full details on how to get a test, and some handy French vocab, click HERE.

The difference for tourists is that you will have to pay for your test, while residents get their costs reimbursed by the French state health system.

In the pharmacy you may be asked for your carte vitale – this is the health card that residents use to claim refunds. As a tourist you won’t have the card – you can still get the test, you will just need to pay for it. Costs vary between pharmacies but are capped at €22 for an antigen test or €54 for a PCR test.


If your test is positive you are legally required to isolate, but how long your isolation period is depends on the your vaccination stats – full details HERE.


For most fully-vaccinated people without underlying health conditions the symptoms of Covid are fairly mild, but if you do become ill, here’s how to access medical help while in France.

Pharmacy – one of the first things you will notice about France is that pharmacies are everywhere, just look out for the green cross. As well as selling over-the-counter medication, pharmacies all have at least one fully-qualified pharmacist on the staff who can offer medical advice. 

Take advantage of pharmacists – they train for at least six years so they’re very knowledgeable and they’re easy to access by simply walking into the shop. In tourist areas it’s likely that they will speak English. Pharmacists can also signpost you to a nearby doctor if you need extra help.

Doctors – if you need to see a doctor, look out for a médecin généraliste (a GP or family doctor). There is no need to be registered with a doctor, simply call up and ask for an appointment if you need one. If you have a smartphone you can use the medical app Doctolib to find a généraliste in your area who speaks English. You will need to pay for your consultation – €25 is the standard charge and you pay the doctor directly using either cash or a debit card.

You may be able to claim back the cost later on your own health/travel insurance depending on the policy.

Ambulance – if you are very sick or have difficulty breathing you should call an ambulance – the number is 15. All non-residents are entitled to emergency treatment in France, whether or not you have insurance, but if you are admitted or have treatment you may need to pay later.

READ ALSO Emergency in France: Who to call and what to say

Paxlovid – several readers have asked whether the Covid treatment drug Paxlovid is available in France. It was licenced for use in February 2022 and is available on prescription from pharmacies, mainly for people with underlying health conditions or an impaired immune system. You can get a prescription from a medical practitioner.

The drug is reimbursed for French residents, but as a tourist you will have to pay.