Issued on: 23/03/2020 – 19:41Modified: 23/03/2020 – 19:41

French health authorities reported 186 new deaths from coronavirus on Monday, taking the total to 860 or an increase of 28 percent, with the toll rising more sharply than the last three days as the country is about to enter its second week of lockdown.

At a press conference Monday, Health Minister Olivier Veran added the number of coronavirus cases had risen to 19,856, which is a rise of about 20 percent in 24 hours.

Veran said 2,082 people were in a serious condition needing life support, up 19 percent compared to Sunday, another increase compared to the last three official tallies.

The rise came a day after the French parliament on Sunday adopted a bill allowing the establishment of a “state of health emergency” granting additional powers to the government to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

France went into lockdown on March 17 with around 100,000 police and gendarmes deployed across the country to enforce the new measures, with people only allowed to leave home for officially sanctioned reasons such as going to work, shopping for necessities or getting medical treatment.

At the press conference Monday, Veran said the lockdown measures were essential to stem the spread of the disease. “I’m aware of the efforts and the sacrifices we’re asking the French people to make each day,” he said. “Everyone now understands why the quarantine is essential. It will allow us to stop the transmission of the virus and save more lives.”



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