19.04.2020 Europe

French death toll hits 19,718, as number of new hospital patients drops

LISTEN APR 19, 2020

France on Sunday reported 395 deaths from Covid-19 over the past 24 hours, as the number of new patients being hospitalised continued to slowly decline.

The new deaths – 227 in hospitals and 168 in nursing homes – bring France's overall toll to 19,718, public health chief Jerome Salomon told a joint press conference with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, Health Minister Olivier Véran and infectious diseases specialist Professor Florence Ader.

Salomon said the total number of people in intensive care units fell for the 11th day in a row, to 5,744 – but stressed that number remained “very high". He added: “Today there are 30,610 hospital patients, or 890 new patients admitted in the past 24 hours.”

France has now recorded 12,069 deaths in hospitals and 7,649 in medico-social establishments and nursing homes since the beginning of the epidemic. The French press agency AFP reported that globally 160,000 have died from Covid-19.

As France gets ready to exit its strict lockdown on 11 May, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe offered insight into the government's strategy for getting the country up and moving again – telling the press conference that our lives after confinement "will be nothing like they were before it". 

He said: “This virus is still killing people every day; people are losing parents and partners who they cannot bury with proper dignity in the manner in which they would like," adding the 30,000 people still in battling the virus in French hospitals was a considerable figure causing continued stress for frontline healthcare workers. 

Separately, Véran announced that families will be able to visit loved ones in nursing homes or establishments for disabled people starting Monday. The visits, at the discretion of those in charge of the facilities, must not be made by more than two people – while no physical contact will be allowed with the person being visited. 

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