January 18, 2022

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France Says Intensive-Care Patients at Lowest in Three Weeks

(Bloomberg) — France reported the number of patients in intensive care due to the coronavirus outbreak fell to the lowest in three weeks, while new deaths linked to the virus declined from a day earlier.

Patients in intensive care dropped by 250 to 5,433, Director General for Health Jerome Salomon said in a Tuesday briefing in Paris. The number of ICU patients, which Salomon has said is an indicator of the outbreak’s impact on the country’s hospital system, fell for a 13th day to the lowest since March 30.

Fatalities linked to the virus rose by 531 to 20,796 deaths. The number of hospitalized patients fell for a seventh day to 30,106, the lowest in almost two weeks.

France on Monday became the fourth country to report more than 20,000 fatalities from the pandemic, behind Italy, Spain and the U.S. As the number of patients in hospitals and intensive care declines, Salomon has credited lockdown and social-distancing measures for putting a brake on the outbreak.

The Health Ministry wasn’t able to provide an updated number for total coronavirus cases in France, citing a lack of data from nursing homes on Tuesday, even as the number of people that tested positive in hospitals increased by 2,667. France’s daily coronavirus figures have fluctuated amid inconsistent reporting from nursing homes, which were first included in the tally this month, with the country’s total cases standing at 178,774 on Monday.

The country will unveil plans within two weeks to progressively lift the restrictions aimed at curbing the epidemic, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Sunday. Neighboring Italy, the worst-hit country in Europe, will present a plan this week to ease its lockdown, with a restart beginning in the first week of May.

France has been on lockdown since March 17, and President Emmanuel Macron announced last week that confinement measures would be extended to May 11.

(Adds coronavirus cases in fifth paragraph.)

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