‘France’s Covid-19 indicators improving, but vigilance needed’

France’s Covid-19 indicators are gradually improving but the country must remain “extremely vigilant” and continue its efforts to combat the pandemic, Health Minister Olivier Veran said.

“The virus has been circulating less quickly since the curfew and confinement were put in place. It’s good news, but the pressure remains high in our hospitals. It has started to decrease gradually but it will take time. So, we must be extremely vigilant,” he told a weekly briefing on the Covid-19 crisis.

On October 30, France entered a second countrywide lockdown, initially for one month, to contain a grave coronavirus resurgence, Xinhua reported.

“We are still under significant epidemic pressure… The more we apply confinement, the shorter it will last,” he said. “Confinement is not over. It is not the time to talk about de-confinement. We must continue our efforts for as long as it takes to stem the virus and defeat it.”

As of Thursday, 2,086,288 Covid-19 cases had been confirmed in France since the outbreak of the epidemic. In the past 24 hours, 429 people died of the respiratory disease, bringing the death toll to 47,127, official data showed.

The coronavirus-related hospital admissions dropped by 497 to 32,345, registering a decline for the third consecutive day. In addition, 4,653 Covid-19 patients required life support, down by 122 compared with Wednesday.

However, the total number of patients in intensive care — all causes combined — stood at 8,000, higher than the country’s initial capacity of 5,100 beds, data showed.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including France, Germany, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.

According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of November 12, 212 Covid-19 candidate vaccines were being developed worldwide, 48 of them in clinical trials.