Deaths from coronavirus in France exceed 19,000, although cases slow

PARIS, Apr 18 (Reuters) – France recorded 642 more deaths from coronavirus infections on Saturday, though deaths increased at a slower rate for the third consecutive day and a downward trend in the number of people in hospitals continued.

France has the fourth highest death toll in the world from the outbreak with 19,323, after the United States, Italy and Spain.

The health ministry said the total number of people in intensive care units fell for the tenth consecutive day, to 5,833, the lowest level since March 31. Meanwhile, the number of people in hospitals fell for the fourth day in a row to 30,639.

Total deaths – which included 11,842 in hospitals and another 7,481 in nursing homes – increased by 3.4%, the third consecutive day that the pace of growth has slowed.

France has been in virtual confinement since March 17 as part of efforts to stem the outbreak.

“There is a decrease in pressure on the needs in terms of equipment and human resources in the resuscitation units, but we are still at an exceptionally high level (of pressure),” said the Ministry of Health.

Overall, there were 111,821 confirmed cases of coronavirus in France and an additional 39,972 probable cases in nursing homes.

(Report by Sarah White and Benoit Van Overstraeten, Edited in Spanish by Manuel Farías)