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HEALTH

France reports new record of 41,622 Covid-19 cases in 24 hours

France registered a record 41,622 new coronavirus infections in 24 hours on Thursday as the health situation continues to deteriorate with authorities extending a curfew to two-thirds of the population.

France reports new record of 41,622 Covid-19 cases in 24 hours
Photo: AFP

The country's public health agency also reported 165 new deaths linked to Covid-19.

The French Prime Minister Jean Castex earlier on Thursday evening announced that the 9pm curfew would be extended to cover a total of 54 départements – roughly half the country.

Around 46 million people will be living under curfew by Saturday.

READ ALSO France extends curfew as Covid-19 situation worsens

 

France is now testing around 1.3 million people a week with its expanded testing programme, but the percentage of people testing positive for the virus showed another alarming lurch upwards, now standing at 14.3 percent.

The situation in the country's hospitals is also giving cause for concern, with 10,166 people now in hospital with the virus, 1,672 of whom are sick enough to require intensive care.

Medics in several regions, including Paris, have sounded the alarm about intensive care occupancy, which has been growing rapidly in recent days.

Earlier on Thursday public health agency Santé Publique France published a series of maps showing where in the country the virus is spreading quickest.

READ ALSO MAP Where in France is Covid-19 spreading fastest?

In total 7,588 towns and cities are now recording an incidence rate of more than 250 cases per 100,000. The national incidence rate is 251.1, albeit with large regional variations between rural and sparsely populated areas such as Corrèze and Lozère, which are still reporting few cases, and the big cities on 'maximum alert' level.

A record seems to have been set in Roubaix, one of France's poorest towns located in the north of the country close to Lille, which reported an incidence rate of 1,135 on Tuesday – more than four times the national average. Sometimes lags in the collection of data leads to a sudden rise in numbers, so spikes like these must always be interpreted with caution.

Generally speaking, however, the situation has been deteriorating in Roubaix lately and the city has recorded 33 Covid-19 fatalities in October.

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HEALTH

Sick patients in France lacking GP to be contacted before summer, minister says

The French minister of health promised that chronically ill patients who aren't registered with a doctor will be contacted by the summer.

Sick patients in France lacking GP to be contacted before summer, minister says

François Braun, France’s Health Minister, said on Monday that all chronically ill patients without a general practitioner will be contacted before the month of June with “concrete solutions”.

There is a general shortage of medécins généraliste (GPs or family doctors) in France, with some areas classed as ‘medical deserts’ where people find it almost impossible to register with a doctor.

The health minister said that people without access to primary care doctors are “deprived of a regular follow-up” and that this is “no longer acceptable” for those with chronic illnesses. These groups will be contacted via Assurance Maladie before the summer, he added. 

Braun’s statements came a few weeks after French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech to healthcare workers outlining the ways he is seeking to overhaul the health system in the country.

READ MORE: How Macron intends to revive France’s ailing health system in 6 months

In his speech, the president promised that the “600,000 patients in France who suffer from a chronic disease would be offered a primary care doctor – or at least a ‘reference team’ – by the end of the year.”

Macron also discussed plans establish a “Conseil national de la refondation (CNR – or National Council for Reconstruction)” to build a “roadmap” for solutions in the fight against medical deserts.

Approximately six million French people are estimated to lack a primary care doctor, and 600,000 of those people suffer from long-term diseases, according to Franceinfo.

READ MORE: What to do if you live in one of France’s ‘medical deserts’

This issue is aggravated by the fact that almost a third of French people live in medical deserts – or geographical zones where healthcare providers and general practitioners are severely lacking compared to the rest of the country. Generally, this refers to healthcare in the community such as GPs or family doctors, dentists or community nurses, rather than hospitals.

Medical desertification mainly affects rural areas with an ageing population – though they’re also developing in some towns and cities (including some Paris suburbs) as retiring doctors are not replaced and younger medics establish themselves in more dynamic zones, both in terms of economy and activities. 

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