MARCH 31, 2020: France recorded its worst daily coronavirus death toll yesterday, exceeding 3,000 for the first time, with army helicopters transporting critical patients from the east to hospitals overseas as the country battled to free up space in life-support units.
Italy on the other hand is extending its lockdown until at least April 12, announced the health minister, after the country’s death toll rose to 11,591. Italy went into lockdown the first time three weeks ago.
Italy, the hardest hit in the world in terms of the number of deaths and accounts for more than a third of world fatalities, saw its total death tally rise to 11,591 since the outbreak was reported in the north on February 21.
The death toll has risen by 812 in the last 24 hours, reversing two days of declines, although the number of new cases rose by just 4,050, the lowest increase since March 17, reaching a total of 101,739.
In France, the number of deaths since March 1 climbed by 16% to 3,024, while cases in intensive care rose more than 10% to 5,107 after two days of falls.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has warned the country’s 67 million people that the toughest weeks in the fight against the epidemic are still to come as doctors in Paris said they were close to saturation point.
Spain meanwhile overtook China yesterday in the number of those infected as the government tightened restrictions, as one of the tightest lockdowns in Europe goes into its third week.
Business leaders are not happy with some of the measures, with Antonio Garamendi, president its business association, said that “If you stop the country, we’ll have a huge social problem within five months.”
In the United Kingdom the pandemic is showing signs of slowing, said Neil Ferguson, a professor of mathematical biology at Imperial College London.
Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, also said there were signs that locking down the country a week ago had slowed the rate of transmission of the virus.
Official data yesterday showed that 1,408 patients in the UK who tested positive had died so far and there were 22,141 positive cases.