France Reports 1,438 New Virus Deaths, Highest Toll to Date

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(Bloomberg) -- France’s coronavirus-linked deaths rose by the most yet in figures released on Wednesday, while the number of intensive-care patients dropped for a seventh day.

Deaths linked to the virus rose by 1,438 to 17,167 fatalities, Director General for Health Jerome Salomon said at a briefing in Paris. He said the toll didn’t cover a 24-hour period, as the count included fatalities in recent days that weren’t previously reported. The number of reported infections in France rose by 4,560 to 147,863 cases.

As global coronavirus cases top 2 million, the Group of 20 economies have spent the equivalent of 3.5% of gross domestic product to fight the pandemic and the resulting economic fallout, the International Monetary Fund estimates. The European Commission has drawn up plans for a gradual exit from lockdowns imposed across the European Union to slow the outbreak, even as it warns that easing of restrictions will lead to a spike in new cases.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is still very active, we need to remain vigilant,” Salomon said. “It’s indispensable to respect the confinement.”

Total deaths in France linked to the coronavirus are starting to approach those in Spain, where daily figures have been coming down and fatalities stand at 18,579. Italy is the hardest-hit country in Europe, reporting 21,645 deaths as of Wednesday.

The number of people hospitalized in France due to the coronavirus fell for the first time since the start of the outbreak, Salomon said. Patients in ICU beds, an indicator of outbreak’s intensity and its impact on the country’s hospital system, fell by 273 to 6,457, the lowest since April 2, according to health ministry data posted online.

“We are still facing a high plateau, a very high plateau,” Salomon said.

(Adds number of cases in second paragraph.)

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