France’s coronavirus death toll rises to 6, with 92 new cases

A hermetically sealed room for Covid-19 patients at a hospital in Marseille, southern France. (AP pic)

PARIS: The French health ministry reported Thursday two more deaths from coronavirus infections, bringing the country’s total to six, and 92 new cases since Wednesday.

It was the biggest one-day jump in the number of French cases since the outbreak began, raising the total to 377.

One 73-year-old victim was in the Oise department north of Paris where a cluster of cases has been reported, the other a 64-year-old from the nearby Aisne department, the ministry said.

President Emmanuel Macron was meeting Thursday with top researchers leading the efforts to fight an outbreak that has seen authorities close around 150 schools.

Government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye said Wednesday that officials would probably have to raise the country’s epidemic alert to the maximum of level three, potentially leading to travel restrictions and clampdowns on public activities.

“Slowing the spread will dampen the impact on the population when we go to level three, and limit the epidemic’s peak,” the health ministry said.

On Thursday, Paris metro operator RATP reported that a station agent had tested positive for the virus, and had worked for several days before being hospitalised.

A RATP union official said the woman had taken part in an evangelical rally last month in the eastern city of Mulhouse, where officials have said several other participants had come down with the disease.