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Coronavirus: France reports 541 new coronavirus hospital deaths in 24 hours

France’s coronavirus death toll rose to 10,869 after hospitals recorded 541 new fatalities in 24 hours, health officials said Wednesday, as the French presidency announced that a nationwide lockdown would be extended for a second time.

Jérôme Salomon, head of the public health authority, told reporters that there were now 7,148 people in intensive care at hospitals across France, a net increase of 17 from the day earlier, the lowest increase recorded in recent weeks.

Salomon said he was unable to give a tally for the country’s nursing homes, which account for more than 30% of total fatalities, due to “technical problems”.

The death toll from hospitals was slightly lower than the comparable number from the day earlier, which was 597.

Lockdown extended beyond April 15

France has been in lockdown since March 17 in a bid to slow the spread of the epidemic, with only essential trips allowed that must be justified with a signed piece of paper.

The lockdown, which was supposed to run until April 15, will be extended beyond that date, the French presidency said later in the evening.

President Emmanuel Macron will discuss the coronavirus situation in an address to the nation on Monday, the Elysée Palace added.

Salomon said the confinement measures had helped slow down the virus’s spread.

“The slowing seen over the last days is linked to your good respect of the confinement rules,” he said.

He expressed hope that France would see a flattening in its curve of cases in coming days but emphasised that this “plateau is at a very high level”.