France reports 427 new coronavirus deaths as toll tops 24,000

France reports 427 new coronavirus deaths as toll tops 24,000
French pharmacies are now selling masks to customers to prepare for the lifting of the lockdown on May 11th. Photo: AFP
France on Wednesday reported 427 more deaths from COVID-19, pushing the total tally up to 24,087. Numbers of patients in hospital and intensive care continued to decline.

The total number of deaths in hospitals and nursing homes from the virus in France is now 24,087, the health ministry said in a statement.

The daily toll was slightly higher than the 367 deaths announced on Tuesday, less than Monday's and higher than what had been reported over the weekend.

But the latest figures confirmed the recent more optimistic trends seen over the last days with 650 fewer coronavirus patients in hospital and 180 less in intensive care.

The new figures were announced a day after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe outlined France's strategy for easing its lockdown from May 11th.

Shops and some schools will reopen but cafes and restaurants will stay shut for now, while wearing a mask will be obligatory on public transport.

REVEALED The plan for life in France after May 11th

The PM emphasised that the government was treading a fine line between the need to protect the economy while also warding off the threat of a new wave of infections.

“A little too much carelessness, and the epidemic restarts. A little too much caution, and the entire country sinks,” he told parliament on Tuesday.

Starting on Thursday, France's Director General of Health Jérome Salomon will present every evening an inventory of the situation in each département.

Each département will be given a “red” or “green” label on May 7th.

“This map will guide each département for the preparation of May 11th,” said the PM adding that in the “red” départements the end of the lockdown or deconfinement “can take a more strict form”.


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