The coronavirus outbreak has infected 2,599 more people and killed 292 others in France, as the country was struggling to contain "a deadly severe epidemic with a rapid-spreading contagious virus," General Director of Health Jerome Salomon said on Sunday, Trend reports citing Xinhua.
A total of 40,174 positive cases were confirmed, of which 2,606 died, while 19,354 others were hospitalized, up by 10 percent in the last 24 hours. However, 7,132 infected people have recovered since the virus has been spotted on Jan. 24.
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.
"The figure related to patients entering resuscitation units is the most important data, we must keep an eye on to evaluate our capacity to deal with severe cases, and because it reflects the virus's dynamics and impact," he said at a daily press conference on the COVID-19 epidemic.
Salomon warned that France was facing "an unprecedented national epidemic resulting in an unprecedented impact on the health system," reiterating the vital need to respect social distancing instruction and to stay at home to avoid hospital saturation.
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.
By canceling non-essential operations and organizing recovery and operating rooms, hospitals offer now 10,000 beds, double the capacity when the outbreak began. The government targets to add 14,500 beds.
France, on March 17, has imposed two-week containment to stem contagion. Only journeys for reasons of work, health needs or shopping of necessities are allowed. Public gatherings are banned, schools and universities are closed, all non-essential businesses have shut down, and curfew was imposed in many cities.
Tough restrictions on people's movement would remain in place until at least April 15. A further extension would be likely, according to local media reports.