France reports record 499 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours

The French military set up a field hospital in Mulhouse to ease the burden on nearby hospitals

As of Wednesday morning, only Italy (with 12,428 deaths), Spain (8,464) and the United States (4,055) have reported more deaths due to the new coronavirus than France.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told a parliamentary committee Wednesday that when the confinement finally came to an end, it would likely be a step-by-step process.

In keeping with Salomon, essentially the most dependable indicator of the virus' unfold is the every day admissions to hospital and intensive care.

Salomon said that the number of cases had risen to 56,989, a rise of nine percent, versus an increase of 17 percent on Tuesday.

Some 4,632 patients required life support, up by 359 in one day, with 34 percent of them younger than 60 years, according to Salomon. "In France, we face an unprecedented national epidemic, with an unparalleled impact on the health system".

Seeking to free up intensive care beds in the worst-affected regions, two adapted high-speed trains TGV transported 36 patients from Mulhouse and Nancy, east France, to the country's western coast on early Sunday. "A deadly pandemic, with a very contagious virus", Salomon said.

But experts warned not to read too much in the figures, citing indications that stringent measures put in place last week to cut close-contact transmission of COVID-19 were working.

With 13,155 deaths to date, Italy accounts for nearly 30% of the global death tally.

The four countries now account for about two-thirds of the total deaths - now at more than 45,000 - from the coronavirus around the world.

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