France Reports 369 New Virus Deaths, Fewest in Almost Four Weeks

(Bloomberg) --

France reported deaths linked to the coronavirus rose at the slowest pace in almost four weeks, while the number of patients in hospitals and in intensive care units continued to decline.

Deaths rose by 369 to 22,614, according to figures provided by the Health Ministry on Saturday, the smallest daily increase since March 29, and slowing for a third day.

Lockdown measures across Europe have started to decelerate the spread of the coronavirus, with Italy posting the fewest virus fatalities in almost six weeks and Spain reporting fewer than 400 deaths for a second day in a row. France is preparing to ease its confinement after May 11, even as the government of President Emmanuel Macron still needs to announce plans on how to do so.

Patients in intensive care because of the virus, which health authorities consider a key indicator of the outbreak’s impact on France’s hospital system, fell by 145 to 4,725, the lowest since the end of March. Including patients in intensive care for other causes, the number stood at 7,525, more than France’s ICU capacity of 5,000 beds before the outbreak.

“We must emphasize the very large number of patients in intensive care, all causes combined, is 50% higher than the initial reanimation capacity in France,” the ministry said.

The overall number of hospitalized patients because of the virus fell for an 11th day to 28,222.

France’s daily coronavirus figures have fluctuated amid inconsistent reporting from nursing homes -- first included in the tally this month --including a downward revision of the data on Tuesday.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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