France Reports Fewer New Virus Cases as Deaths Rise Sharply

Alan Katz and Ania Nussbaum

(Bloomberg) -- France reported fewer new coronavirus cases even as the total number of deaths rose sharply, according to figures presented by the head of the French public health agency Jerome Salomon.

The total cumber of cases rose by 3,777, slightly slower than yesterday’s increase. Deaths rose by 1,417 to 10,328 as reported nursing home deaths continued to surge.

France has been reporting some improvements, along with Spain and Germany, after almost three weeks of lockdown that have damaged its economy. The government has said that the magnitude of the shock was worst than the 1929 crisis.

Still, an increase in coronavirus cases and deaths in Spain Tuesday suggests the contagion is not yet under control, even as some countries like Italy and Norway are looking into easing their lockdowns.

Read More: Italy Weighs Steps to Join Europe’s Cautious Virus Reopening (1)

In an encouraging sign, the increase in the number of patients in intensive-care patients in France fell for the eighth straight day, up by just 59. Salomon has repeatedly highlighted ICU admissions as the best gauge of the outbreak’s intensity and impact on the health-care system. The number of confirmed cases in France stands at 78,176, according to public health agency data.

The country is on a lockdown until April 15, but the government has warned it would likely be extended. French prime minister Edouard Philippe said Tuesday at the National Assembly that it was premature to discuss ending confinement.

(Updates with details on ICU admissions and confinement measures in 5th and 6th paragraphs.)

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