French authorities hope the easing of lockdown measures does not trigger a new wave of COVID-19. Image by AP PHOTO

Health

France’s virus death rate, new cases slow

2020-05-23 04:22:37

The growth rate of new confirmed COVID-19 cases in France has slowed slightly, with health authorities reporting an additional 318 known infections, an increase of 0.2 per cent over 24 hours.

The rate of increases in reported deaths also slowed a little on Thursday, with 83 COVID-19 fatalities in the past day, bringing the total to 28,215. That represented a rise of 0.3 per cent.

The number of new cases and deaths increased by 0.3 per cent and 0.4 per cent respectively on Wednesday.

Thursday is a public holiday in France. Nursing homes in particular can be slower to report fatalities and cases on weekends and during holidays.

In the last two weeks of the lockdown, the daily rise in the number of confirmed cases was on average 0.8 per cent.

The indicator is being closely watched by the government to ensure the gradual relaxation of lockdown measures does not trigger a feared second wave of the disease.

Genevieve Chene, head of health authority Sante Publique France (SPF), this week said there were no signs the pandemic was picking up, despite some new infection clusters, after France began emerging cautiously from lockdown on May 11.

But she said another week would be needed for a more complete picture of the impact of easing restrictions.

The number of COVID-19 patients being treated in intensive care units fell to 1745 from 1794 a day earlier, Thursday’s numbers showed.

In total, 17,583 people were hospitalised with COVID-19, a decrease of 358 over the past 24 hours.