France expecting big increase in victims

A medical biologist waves as a patient drives away in her car after being tested for the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus causing the Covid-19 disease, at a drive-through facility set up outside a laboratory in Neuilly, outside Paris France. EPA-EFE/IAN LANGSDON

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French health authorities reported 231 new deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday, taking the total to 1,331.

The rise in the number of deaths represents a daily increase of 21%, a slight slowing from the previous two days with the country now in its second week of lockdown.

This daily government tally only accounts for those dying in hospital but authorities said they would soon be able to compile data on deaths in retirement homes, which is likely to result in a big increase in registered fatalities.

During a press conference, health agency director Jerome Salomon, added that the number of cases had risen to 25,233, a rise of about 13% in 24 hours.

Salomon said 2,827 people were in a serious condition needing life support, up 12% compared to Tuesday and meaning that more than one third of France’s 8,000 beds equipped with ventilation gear are occupied.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday that France would launch a new military operation and a “massive” investment plan for hospitals to help contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The military operation, named Operation Resilience, will focus on missions of logistics, public health assistance and protection on the French mainland and oversea territories, Macron said.

Speaking in Mulhouse, eastern France, Macron also announced a “massive plan” to re-fund the French hospitals and care sector. French doctors and nurses have been calling for emergency funding for over a year, warning that the sector was struggling long before the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more via Reuters

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