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22.04.2020 Europe

France's official figures confirm slow decline of Covid-19 epidemic

By Mike Woods - RFI
REUTERS - BENOIT TESSIER
LISTEN APR 22, 2020
REUTERS - BENOIT TESSIER

As France entered a seventh week of nationwide confinement to slow the spread of Covid-19 on Wednesday, official figures continued to show a slow but gradual easing of pressure on hospitals.

In a daily briefing on Tuesday evening, top health official Jérôme Salomon read figures confirming the peak of France's Covid-19 epidemic has been reached

Official data showed there were 117,324 confirmed cases in France, which means those cases for which a test has turned up positive. 

Authorities acknowledge the real reach of the virus causing Covid-19 is much larger, and France's policy since the beginning of the epidemic has been to test only the most serious cases. 

Mortality figures in gradual decline
Salomon reported 387 people had died from Covid-19 in the previous 24 hours. While figures fluctuate from one day to the next, mortality figures are on the average down about 100 per day from what they were at the height of the epidemic two weeks ago. 

The total number of patients in hospital has gone down for the seventh day in a row. With 30,106 people in hospital, the number has gone down by 2,186 over the course of a week. 

The number of patients in intensive care has been on the decline for nearly two weeks. There were 5,433 people in ICU, down from a peak of 7,148 on 8 April.

With France having boosted its ICU capacity from 5,000 to 9,000 beds, with a target of 14,500 in total, the hospital system has been well within its capacity to handle the epidemic, even though some patients have been transferred from the most affected regions. 

France has fourth highest official death toll

A further 144 deaths were entered into the toll in care homes for the elderly, where a total of 7,896 deaths due to Covid-19 have been reported so far. 

France's official death toll as of Wednesday at midday was 20,796. 

France remains the country with the fourth highest official death toll, behind the United States (45,343), Italy (24,648) and Spain (21,717). With a mortality figure of 17,337, the United Kingdom has the fifth largest official death toll.

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