France’s coronavirus death toll jumps to nearly 9,000

Paris: France reported 833 more coronavirus deaths, bringing the total to 8,911, while infections, both confirmed in hospitals and “confirmed or possible” cases from nursing homes, jumped to 98,010.

The number of patients who lost their lives because of the respiratory illness in the country’s hospitals rose to 6,494, up 605. The counting by retirement homes found that there were 2,417 deaths since March 1, said Health Minister Olivier Veran at a daily briefing on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

A total of 74,390 people have been tested positive for coronavirus since the start of the epidemic. That was up from 70,478 confirmed on Sunday. The number of “confirmed or possible” cases in nursing homes was at 23,620, up by 5.6 percent.

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The minister announced a vast screening operation targeting elderly people in medico-social establishments in order to curb the number of deaths among the most vulnerable.

Among the 29,752 hospitalized patients, 7,072 were in intensive care units. In the past 24 hours, 94 new cases required life support compared with 140 on Sunday.

Veran hailed medical caregivers’ mobilization which helped overcome the epidemic, noting that the coronavirus crisis “is changing the hospital situation.”

“This health crisis reflects the need to reinvent the model of hospital which needs to be better-equipped to manage crisis of this extent,” he said.

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When the epidemic began last month, French government had decided on a batch of measures to halt the virus spread. It ordered a country-wide shutdown of all the public institutions and museums, suspended sporting events and closed non-essential facilities.

Under a lockdown imposed on March 17, people have been forced to stay at home, except for trips for purposes of work, health needs or shopping of necessities.

“The confinement impact is notable in the territories where the virus spreads a lot…In France, we are starting to feel (its effects). We believe that confinement saves lives,” Veran said.

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However, he warned that the epidemic “is not over” and “there is still a long way ahead.”

“We are not at the end of the epidemic ascent. We must continue mobilization by staying at home,” the minister stressed.

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