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

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.

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

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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Property taxes, food and tunnels: 6 essential articles on life in France

From tax hikes to the price of food, air conditioning and the unexpected things that lurk beneath the streets of Paris, here are 6 essential articles for life in France.

Property taxes, food and tunnels: 6 essential articles on life in France

As the inhabitants of Paris, one of Europe’s most densely populated cities, walk along the Champs-Elysées or Rue de Rivoli, they might be entirely unaware of the extensive underground world that exists below their feet.

Paris has a huge network of underground spaces that hide some very unexpected things (as well as the entirely prosaci Metro).

Skulls, beer and a ‘cathedral’: Discover the secrets of underground Paris

From cheese and garlic to berets and sex, taxes and striking, France is heavily loaded with cultural stereotypes – and most of them are only partly accurate.

This is us, busting more myths.

Myth-busting: Are these 12 clichés about France actually true?

France warned that companies might have to reduce energy this winter as Russian continues to reduce its gas supplies to Europe.

The government has already begun work on an energy-saving plan, with more measures to come in September.

And it’s not the only country thinking along these lines – from limits to heating and air conditioning to turning off the lights and taking off ties, here’s how countries around Europe are cutting their energy usage.

Air-con, lights and ties: How countries around Europe hope to avoid blackouts this winter

Although householders in France are relatively fortunate when it comes to rising bills, there is one notable exception.

Towns and villages across France have been raising property tax rates for second-home owners – with many areas voting for the maximum 60 percent increase.

Tax hikes of up to 60% for French second home owners

As we’ve stumbled onto money matters, let’s consider the cost of living. France has many temptations to woo visitors and foreign residents: its scenery, history, the lifestyle, the food and the drink.

While some things here are more expensive than elsewhere – we’re looking at you, second-hand car dealers – and the taxes are notoriously high, what about the cost of groceries and wine? How do they compare? We do something that looks a lot like crunching the numbers…

How expensive is food and drink in France?

But, enough of all that seriousness. It’s silly season, after all. Prominent French scientist Etienne Klein has had to apologise for claiming this was the latest astonishing picture taken by the James Webb Space Telescope, when it was – in fact …

French astronomer apologises for ‘stellar’ photo that was really . . . chorizo

Some people take things far too seriously.