France reports nearly 500 new coronavirus deaths, highest single-day increase

France reports nearly 500 new coronavirus deaths, highest single-day increase
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French officials on Tuesday reported the nation’s highest single-day coronavirus death toll at 499, while the total number of cases in the country jumped 17 percent in 24 hours.

The figure marks the third consecutive day of accelerated mortality from the virus in France, France24 reported, and comes three weeks into the country’s lockdown to stem its spread.

The country’s overall death toll from the virus stands at 3,532 as of Tuesday afternoon. The new figures come a day after authorities reported 418 new deaths.

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State health agency director Jérôme Salomon said in a news conference Tuesday that confirmed cases are at 52,128, saying the 17 percent increase was likely the result of increased testing.

He added that the number of people in serious condition requiring life support has also increased to 5,565, though that was a smaller percentage increase than in previous days.

The country has increased its intensive care unit beds from 5,000 to about 10,000 with an ultimate goal of nearly 15,000, France24 reported.

Army helicopters on Monday worked to transport some of the most serious patients overseas to hospitals in Germany, Luxembourg and Switzerland, transferring six patients to Bern and Frankfurt. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has said the worst of the pandemic in France is likely still ahead, with experts saying its “growth phase” in the country will likely last two weeks.

France, which imposed its national lockdown March 17, had the sixth most cases and fourth most deaths worldwide as of Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. had more than 3,700 deaths as of Tuesday, surpassing France.