March 26, 2020 / 6:59 PM / 9 days ago

France reports new spike in coronavirus deaths, bringing total to 1,696

Medical staff move a patient from a special high-speed train to an ambulance during a transfer operation of people infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19), from Strasbourg to western France hospitals, in Angers, France March 26, 2020. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

PARIS (Reuters) - French health authorities reported 365 new deaths from coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total to 1,696.

The rise in the number of deaths represents a daily rise of 27%, a marked increase from the previous day with the country now in its second week of lockdown.

This daily government tally only accounts for those dying in hospital but authorities said they would soon be able to compile data on deaths in retirement homes, which is likely to result in a big increase in registered fatalities.

During a press conference, health agency director Jerome Salomon added that the number of cases had risen to 29,155, a rise of 16% in 24 hours.

Salomon said 3,375 people were in a serious condition needing life support, up 19% compared to Wednesday and meaning that close to half of France’s 8,000 beds equipped with ventilation gear are occupied.

Reporting Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Franklin Paul

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