Virus deaths fall in France as toll tops 27,000

A health worker goes through Covid-19 test results on a computer screen at Broussais Hospital in Paris on Monday. (AP pic)

PARIS: France on Wednesday reported a drop in coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours compared with previous days, as its overall toll passed the 27,000 mark.

The new deaths brought the total toll in hospitals and nursing homes from the pandemic in France to 27,074, the health ministry said.

But the ministry also acknowledged a counting error has revised down the toll in nursing homes by 15 people from the day earlier, adding it did not yet have a toll from nursing homes for Wednesday.

It said that over the last 24 hours, 98 people had died in hospital.

According to the health ministry’s official toll, this means 83 people were registered to have died over the last 24 hours, compared with 348 the previous day.

Recent positive trends continued, with 114 fewer people in intensive care for a total of 2,428, a figure that exceeded 7,000 at the peak of the crisis.

There were still 21,071 coronavirus patients in hospital, a net drop of 524 from a day earlier.

The latest figures came as France Wednesday enjoyed the third day of the partial easing of a nationwide lockdown imposed on March 17 to battle the virus.

In a meeting with regional leaders, President Emmanuel Macron emphasised that France faced a tricky balancing act by seeking to kick-start economic activity while preventing an upsurge in new virus cases.

“This partial reopening of the economy while still trying to keep the epidemic under control is unprecedented,” he said.

“That’s the collective challenge we’re facing.”

Adding that the measures could be tightened again if needed, he added: “It is too early to declare victory.”

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