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France on Friday reported 987 more COVID-19 deaths registered in hospitals and nursing homes over the last 24 hours, although the number of patients in intensive care fell for the second day in a row.
The new deaths – including 554 in hospitals and 433 in nursing homes – brought the total toll in France to 13,197 since the epidemic began, top health official Jerome Salomon told reporters.
A child aged under 10 infected with COVID-19 died, but Salomon said that the causes of the death were “multiple”. In better news, Salomon said there were now 62 fewer people in intensive care, continuing a trend first seen on Thursday.
"This is a pale ray of sunshine," said Salomon. "But this timid light is very important for all the medical staff."
He added: "A plateau seems to be setting in — a very high plateau with an epidemic that is very dynamic."
France has been in lockdown since March 17 in a bid to slow the spread of the epidemic, with only essential trips allowed that must be justified with a signed piece of paper.
"We have been starting to see over the last days the first effects of the confinement," said Salomon, noting a "slight slowing of the epidemic".
French President Emmanuel Macron is due on Monday to address the nation for a third time during the crisis.
He is expected to announce that the lockdown will be extended beyond its current April 15 expiration date.
Macron will have to steer a careful course amid tentative signs of improvement, telling people they must still stay at home while giving indications about how the confinement may end.
The president on Friday hosted a video conference with business groups and union leaders to help prepare for his address.
Macron had "two messages. This is not the moment to drop our guard as the confinement is the way to halt the epidemic. But we need to think about ending theRead More – Source