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A woman walks on the deserted Trocadero square today in front of the Eiffel Tower during nationwide confinement measures to counter Covid-19. AP/PA Images

Coronavirus: France reports highest daily death toll so far, New York Governor warns this is 'not over'

France has been in lockdown since 17 March in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus.

FRANCE HAS REPORTED its highest daily death toll so far from Covid-19 with 833 deaths confirmed in hospitals and nursing homes over the past 24 hours. 

“We have not reached the end of the ascent of this epidemic,” Health Minster Olivier Veran told reporters, as he announced the new death toll which brought the total number in France to 8,911.

France has been in lockdown since 17 March in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. 

The country 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.

Of the new deaths, 605 were registered in hospitals, Veran said.

“It is not over. Far from that. The path is long. The figures that I have announced show this,” he said. “Stay at home and continue this confinement effort.”

Veran said that 478 more people had gone into intensive care over the last 24 hours, a higher figure than in previous days.

embedded253295631 Pedestrians walk along mostly empty Sixth Avenue during the coronavirus outbreak in New York.

Elsewhere around the world, the steep rise in Covid-19 deaths in New York appears to be levelling off in a possible sign that social distancing is working in the most lethal hot spot in the US, Governor Andrew Cuomo said today. 

Cuomo warned that this is no time to relax the restrictions aimed at keeping people from getting too close to one another, and he ordered bigger fines against violators.

“The numbers look like it may be turning. ‘Yay, it’s over!’ No, it’s not. And other places have made that mistake,” he said as deaths in the US climbed past 10,000, with around 350,000 confirmed infections.

The number of those who have died from Covid-19 in New York state rose past 4,700. The state has been averaging just under 600 deaths per day for the past four days.

Governor Cuomo also reported that the number of new people entering hospitals daily has dropped, as has the number of critically ill patients who require ventilators.

At the same time, he ordered schools and non-essential businesses to remain closed until the end of the month, announced he is doubling the fines for rule breakers to $1,000 (€926), and said it was “wholly unacceptable” that New Yorkers had been out in parks over the weekend.

Even as he announced that the outbreak in New York may be at or near its peak, he warned that hospitals are under extreme pressure.

“If we are plateauing, we are plateauing at a very high level, and there is tremendous stress on the health care system,” Cuomo said.

“This is a hospital system where we have the foot to the floor and the engine is at red line and you can’t go any faster, and by the way, you can’t stay at red line for any period of time or the system will blow.”

In Japan, a state of emergency is being considered for Toyko and other areas because of soaring infections in the country with the world’s third-largest economy and its oldest population.

Worldwide, more than 1.3 million people have been confirmed infected and over 70,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.

featureimage Worldwide, more than 1.3 million people have been confirmed to have Covid-19.

Other European countries

Austria and the Czech Republic both began openly discussing how to ease some of the restrictions, starting with reopening some small shops and garden centres next week.

Italy’s day-to-day increase in new Covid-19 cases dipped again, for the lowest one-day increase in early three weeks. The country also saw a drop for the third straight day in intensive care beds occupied by infected patients.

Italy still has, by far, the world’s highest coronavirus death toll with over 16,500 deaths from the disease confirmed.

However, the pressure on intensive care units in the north has eased so much that the region is no longer airlifting patients to other regions.

Nursing coordinator Maria Berardelli at the hard-hit Pope John XXIII hospital in Bergamo said that while the numbers of new patients had eased up a bit, hospital staff members were still pulling long, difficult shifts.

“There has been no reduction in the work,” Berardelli said. “There have been fewer admissions to the emergency room, but our intensive care units are still full, so the activity hasn’t been reduced.”

In Spain, deaths and new infections dropped again. The health ministry reported 637 new deaths, the lowest toll in 13 days, for a total of over 13,000 dead. New infections were also the lowest in two weeks.

- With reporting from AFP and Orla Dwyer. 

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