Coronavirus

France sees drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations

A healthcare worker pushes her trolley past people queuing to be tested for COVID-19 at the Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. The Eastern Cape Province is seeing a surge in cases of coronavirus and has recorded the highest number of COVID-19-related deaths in the country. (AP Photo/Theo Jeptha)

PARIS — The number of coronavirus patients hospitalized in France dropped this weekend for this first time since September, after two weeks of new nationwide lockdown measures aimed at slowing surging infections and easing hospital strains.

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care also fell for the first time in six weeks, according to figures released Saturday night, though virus patients still occupy 96% of France’s standard ICU beds.

The number of weekly infections per 100,000 people in France has now been falling for 14 straight days, and some doctors say they’re starting to see signs of relief in over-stretched ICUs.

But it remains too early to say whether the one-day drop in hospital numbers means France has hit the peak in this second surge of the pandemic.

France has reported more virus infections than any European country and has had 44,246 virus-related deaths. The government imposed a nationwide partial lockdown starting Oct. 30 as the second surge hit and could start easing the measures Dec. 1 if the number of virus patients in hospitals shows consistent decline.

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