COVID-19: France overwhelmed, moving patients to other countries

Emergency medical personnel carries a patient affected with coronavirus (Covid-19) from a military hospital to an ambulance (Photo by SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP)

Also, there are 22,757 people hospitalised in France with COVID-19, with 5,565 of them in intensive care while a total 3,523 person have died so far, health official Jerome Salomon told reporters in his daily update.

The French death toll includes only those who died in hospital and not those who died at home or in old people’s homes.

“This situation is completely unprecedented in the history of French medicine,” said Salomon.

France has been in lockdown since March 17 in a bid to slow the spread of the epidemic and officials have repeatedly warned it will take time for the measures to bear fruit.

Salomon said hospitals in eastern France — one of the hubs of the outbreak — were under “great tension” and in Paris and its wider surroundings the situation was also “difficult”.

As a result, France has been moving some patients to other regions or even abroad to neighbouring countries.

Salomon said 288 patients had been transferred to regions under less pressure so far and this number would increase in the days to come.

He confirmed that on Wednesday a specially equipped train would transfer 36 patients from Paris to Brittany.