March 20, 2020 / 6:55 PM / 13 days ago

France reports 78 more coronavirus deaths, raising total to 450

FILE PHOTO: People shop for fruits and vegetables at the Bastille Market in Paris as a lockdown is imposed to slow the rate of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in France, March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - French health authorities reported 78 new deaths from coronavirus on Friday, taking the total to 450 or an increase of 21%, the toll rising less sharply then the two days before as extra measures to enforce the national lockdown were locally announced.

During a press conference, health agency director Jerome Salomon added the number of cases had risen to 12,612, up from 10,995 on Thursday, which is a rise of 15% in 24 hours.

Salomon said 1,297 people were in a serious condition, needing life support, up 16% compared to Thursday.

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

Reporting Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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