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Saudi Press Agency

Paris hospitals near coronavirus breaking point

Saudi Press Agency

Friday 1441/8/3 - 2020/03/27

PARIS/TOULOSE, Mar 27, 2020, SPA -- A spike in coronavirus cases will put France under huge pressure in coming days, its prime minister said on Friday, after reporting its biggest daily death toll and officials fearing hospitals in and around Paris could be saturated in 48 hours.

Paris and its suburbs now account for over a quarter of the 29,000 confirmed coronavirus infections in French hospitals, with almost 1,300 now in intensive care. Highlighting the disease's brutality, a 16-year-old girl with no underlying health conditions died of the virus on Thursday, according to Reuters.

The death toll nationwide stood at 1,696, with signs that the virus is also becoming endemic in the southwest.

President Emmanuel Macron on March 17 imposed a lockdown to slow the spread of the virus, but doctors say they expect a wave of cases next week after the government pressed ahead with local elections and thousands of people mingled in parks and streets before they were confined at home.

Officials in the Paris area have been scrambling to find more intensive care beds, ventilators and medical staff and spread the load of patients across the capital and its wider suburbs.

France has already increased the number of intensive care units from 5,000 to about 8,000, but doctors say Paris is already at its limit after almost doubling its capacity to about 1,200.

--SPA
18:04 LOCAL TIME 15:04 GMT
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