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France’s coronavirus death toll passes 10,000 after steep rise at nursing homes

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France officially registered more than 10,000 deaths from coronavirus infections on Tuesday, becoming the fourth country to go beyond that threshold after Italy, Spain and the United States. 

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The total death toll from Covid-19 rose to 10,328 from 8,911 on Monday, Jérôme Salomon, head of the public health authority, told a press conference, warning that “the epidemic is continuing its progression.”

Salomon said 7,091 fatalities have been recorded at French hospitals since March 1. A further 3,237 people have died at care homes for the elderly, he added, giving a much higher figure than reported on Monday.

He stressed that the latter count was still partial, with some nursing homes yet to report.

France, which has been in lockdown since March 17, is now giving a daily combined toll of deaths in hospitals and nursing homes. Previously it had only given the hospital toll on a daily basis.

>> As coronavirus creeps into French care homes, a ‘tsunami’ of deaths goes uncounted

More than 30,000 people were being treated in hospitals around the country, with 7,131 in intensive care, Salomon added.

“We are in the ascending phase of the epidemic, even if it is slowing a bit,” he warned. “We have not yet reached the peak.”

The death toll of 10,328 included 597 fatalities in hospital in the last 24 hours, according to a government update .

Paris bans daytime jogging

Earlier on Tuesday, Paris officials said they would ban lone daytime jogging as people continue to flout anti-coronavirus lockdown rules.

“Every excursion avoided aids the fight against the epidemic,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and police chief Didier Lallement said in a statement announcing the partial jogging ban.

Paris bans daytime jogging in bid to slow spread of coronavirus

Paris and other cities have already closed public parks and gardens as part of the nationwide lockdown that requires people to carry a document justifying any excursion from the home. 

Addressing parliament, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the unwinding of the lockdown, which at this stage is supposed to run until April 15, would not “happen overnight”.

The lockdown “is difficult for many French people, I am fully aware of this. But it is essential if we do not wish to find ourselves in an even worse situation than the one we are experiencing today”, he said. 

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

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