France reports huge spike in coronavirus deaths, raising total to 372

Medical staff push a patient on a gurney to a waiting medical helicopter at a hospital in eastern France, on March 17, 2020, amid the outbreak of the new coronavirus. (AFP)

French health authorities reported 108 new deaths from coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total to 372 or an increase of almost 41 percent, the toll rising sharply yet again as the country was in its third day of a lockdown aimed at containing the outbreak.

During a press conference, health agency director Jerome Salomon added the number of cases had risen to 10,995, up from 9,134 on Tuesday, which is a rise of 20 percent in 24 hours.

People wearing protective face masks walk in the gardens of the Montmartre's Sacre Coeur Basilica in Paris as shops, schools remain closed and workers asked to work from home if possible, part of the French government’s measures against the coronavirus outbreak, France, March 16, 2020. (Reuters)

People wearing protective face masks walk in the gardens of the Montmartre's Sacre Coeur Basilica in Paris as shops, schools remain closed and workers asked to work from home if possible, part of the French government’s measures against the coronavirus outbreak, France, March 16, 2020. (Reuters)

Salomon said 1,122 people were in a serious condition, needing life support, up 20.5 percent compared to Wednesday.

It is estimated France has around 5,000 beds equipped with the necessary gear but these are unevenly spread around the country.

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Last Update: 18:59 KSA 21:59 - GMT 18:59
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