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COVID-19

France reports almost 1,000 more coronavirus deaths as epidemic ‘reaches high plateau’

France reported 987 more deaths from coronavirus on Friday in hospitals and nursing homes as French health chiefs said the epidemic was starting to plateau albeit at a high level. On the positive side the number of patients in intensive care fell for the second day in a row.

France reports almost 1,000 more coronavirus deaths as epidemic 'reaches high plateau'
French mobile baker and grocer Arnault Carnis (R), wearing a face mask, gives food to an inhabitant of Combres, western France, on April 8, 2020, on the 23rd day of a lockdown in France to stop the sp

The overall death toll from coronavirus since the start of the epidemic reached 13,197 on Friday, the Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon said at his daily press conference.

That total includes 8, 598 patients who had died in hospital and 4,599 residents of France's elderly nursing homes called Ehpads.

Salomon (pictured below) said that hospital deaths had risen 554 compared to Thursday's total, while the number of Ehpad residents to have died rose by 433.

A child aged under 10 infected with COVID-19 died, but Salomon said that the causes of the death were “multiple”. In better news, Salomon said there were now 62 fewer people in intensive care, continuing a trend first seen on Thursday.

The epidemic has started to reach “a very high plateau” said Salomon adding that “we must remain very vigilant.”

“It's only together that we will beat the virus. Staying at home is battling the disease and saving lives, ” said Salomon.

 “We have been starting to see over the last days the first effects of the  confinement,” noted Salomon, noting a “slight slowing of the epidemic”.

AFP

There were 7,004 patients in intensive care units in hospitals around France on Friday, some 62 fewer than on Thursday.

Salomon described the slight drop as a “small ray of sunshine, but this slender light is very significant for all health workers”.

Overall 25,000 patients have left hospital since March 1st after recovering from the virus.

French President Emmanuel Macron is due on Monday to address the nation for a third time during the crisis.

He is expected to announce that the lockdown will be extended beyond its current April 15 expiration date.

Macron will have to steer a careful course amid tentative signs of improvement, telling people they must still stay at home while giving indications about how the confinement may end.

The president on Friday hosted a video conference with business groups and union leaders to help prepare for his address.

Macron had “two messages. This is not the moment to drop our guard as the confinement is the way to halt the epidemic. But we need to think about ending the lockdown, even if it seems we are not there yet,” said Yves Veyrier, head of the FO union.

French authorities on Friday transferred 45 more patients by two TGV high-speed trains to the southwest of the country in a bid to relieve pressure on strained hospitals in the Paris region.

Some 200 patients have already been evacuated by road, rail or air from the Paris region since April 1. The southwest of the country is one of the areas least impacted by the virus.

The situation in nursing homes remains one of acute concern.

The top health official for the Ile-de-France region of Paris and its surroundings, Aurelien Rousseau, said on Friday that over 400 of the 700 nursing homes in the region had registered at least one COVID-19 case.

Meanwhile, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle has registered 50 cases of novel coronavirus among the crew, the armed forces ministry said Friday

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COVID-19

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

France's public health body has outlined how Covid-19 rules will change on February 1st, including an end to compulsory self-isolation after a positive test result.

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

Starting on February 1st, Covid rules will relax in France as the country ends compulsory isolation for those who test positive for the virus.

However, those travelling from China to France will still be required to agree to a random screening upon arrival and to isolate in the case of a positive Covid-19 test result. Travellers aged 11 and over coming from China must also provide a negative test result (less tan 48 hours) prior to boarding and those aged six and over must agree to wear a mask on board flights. These regulations – which was set to last until January 31st – is set to remain in place until February 15th.

The French public health body (The Direction générale de la santé or DGS)  announced the change on Saturday in a decree published in the “Journal Officiel” outlining the various ways the body will loosen previous coronavirus restrictions.

READ MORE: What Covid rules and recommendations remain for visiting France?

Those who were in contact with someone who tested positive – ie a contact cases – will also no longer be required to take a test, though the public health body stressed that both testing after contact and isolating after receiving a positive test remain recommended.

Previously, even asymptomatic people who had been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 were required to test on the second day after being notified that they were a “contact-case”.

These changes will take effect on February 1st.

READ MORE: What changes in France in February 2023?

The DGS also said that website SI-DEP, which records test results, will remain in operation until June 30th, however starting in February it will only collect personal data with the express permission of the patient.

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Additionally, the French government announced that sick leave procedures for people with Covid-19 will return to normal on February 1st – this means that those who test positive for Covid-19 will have the three-day wait period before daily sick benefits are required to be paid, as is usually the case. Previously, people with Covid-19 could expect daily sick benefits to begin at the start of their sick leave period (arrêt maladie in French).  

READ MORE: How sick leave pay in France compares to other countries in Europe

Covid tests are still available on walk-in basis from most pharmacies are are free to people who are fully vaccinated and registered in the French health system. Unvaccinated people, or visitors to France, have to pay up to a maximum of €22 for an antigen test of €49 for a PCR test. 

If you recently tested positive for Covid-19 in France – or you suspect you may have contracted Covid-19 – you can find some information for how to proceed here.

In explaining the changes that will begin in February, the French public health body also noted a drop in Covid-19 infections in the past month. As of January 30th, approximately 3,800 people in France had tested positive in the previous 24 hours for the coronavirus – which represents a decrease from the averages of 20,000 new cases per day about one month ago.

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