France's coronavirus death toll jumps as nursing homes included

France's coronavirus death toll jumps as nursing homes included
  • Clock-gray 03:00
  • calendar-gray 03 April 2020

The coronavirus death count in France surged to nearly 5,400 people on Thursday after the health ministry began including nursing home fatalities in its data, APA reports quoting Reuters.

Jerome Salomon, head of the health authority, said the pandemic had by Thursday claimed the lives of 4,503 patients in hospitals, up 12% on the previous day’s 4,032. A provisional tally showed the coronavirus had killed a further 884 people in nursing homes and other care facilities, he added. 

This makes for a total of 5,387 lives lost to coronavirus in France - an increase of 1,355 over Wednesday’s cumulative total - although data has not yet been collected from all of the country’s 7,400 nursing homes. 

“We are in France confronting an exceptional epidemic with an unprecedented impact on public health,” Salomon told a news conference. 

More than two thirds of all the known nursing home deaths have been registered in the Grand Est region, which abuts the border with Germany. 

It was the first region in France to be overwhelmed by a wave of infections that has rapidly moved west to engulf greater Paris, where hospitals are desperately trying to add intensive care beds to cope with the influx of critically ill patients. 

The care sector has called for blanket testing for all staff, with the virus often entering these homes through employees. More than 1 million people live in France’s care homes. 

“We have to limit the impact on old people as we know that they are the most fragile,” said Romain Gizolme, head of an association for the care of the elderly.

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