France records lowest number of coronavirus hospital deaths in five weeks

France reported a big fall in its coronavirus death toll on Sunday, with 242 deaths in 24 hours, a drop of more than a third on the previous day. Sunday's figure marked the fewest number of coronavirus hospital deaths in five weeks.

France records lowest number of coronavirus hospital deaths in five weeks
Photo: AFP

The epidemic has now claimed 22,856 lives in the country since the beginning of March, health officials said.

The deaths in hospitals – 152 – was the lowest daily toll in five weeks, they said, while 90 people died in nursing and care homes.

Throughout the epidemic France has generally seen a drop in reported death on Sundays, which has been due to delayed recording of deaths over weekends. The daily death toll then tends to rise again on a Monday.

Nevertheless health chiefs in France are encouraged by the continued trend of falling daily death tolls in recents days.

The number of coronavirus patients in hospital and in particular in intensive care continue to fall in France, albeit slowly.

But officials said they were worried by an increase in critically ill patients suffering from other conditions.

More than 7,553 people were in intensive care units in France on Sunday (4,682 – Covid-19 patients) — 50 percent more than the country's total capacity before the epidemic struck. 

“The total of coronavirus patients (in intensive care) dropped by 43,” said health chief Jérôme Salomon on Sunday. “On the other hand the total of patients (in intensive care) suffering form all conditions rose by 28.”

Overall, 28,217 people are being treated in hospital for the virus. 

With the country's health system still under strain, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will set out his strategy for ending the lockdown before parliament on Tuesday.

Ministers have identified 17 priorities for gradually bringing the country out of eight weeks of confinement in a “controlled, progressive” manner from May 11th.

Schools in some areas are expected to reopen, with companies returning to work and public transport going back to a more normal timetable as a testing system and support for the elderly are put into place.

Out of the 87, 985 people hospitalised in France since the beginning of the epidemic, 44, 903 have recovered and returned home.

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