PARIS: France has recorded 112 coronavirus deaths in a day, taking its total to 562, the health ministry said on Saturday (Mar 21).

There have been 14,459 confirmed cases, the ministry said in a statement.

It said 1,525 people were in severe condition out of the 6,172 who were currently in hospital. Half the severe cases were people aged under 60.

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250 MILLION FACE MASKS

The French government’s scientific council will on Monday make an announcement on the length and extent of the emergency measures, according to Health Minister Olivier Veran.

To help contain the COVID-19 virus, 250 million protective face masks will become available ‘progressively”, the minister told a news conference.

There is currently a lack of masks, especially for health workers who are prone to catch and spread the disease.

Veran said the government was also seeking to multiply the coronavirus test kits available in order to increase testing once the restrictions on movement are lifted.

Businesses are suffering from the restrictions. Many have been told to close with only key businesses like supermarkets and pharmacies allowed to keep their doors open.

“Here we are still making the bread but we’re not giving out the change,” said one baker in the eastern Paris suburb of Montreuil.

Coins are laid out by denomination on the counter and customers take whatever is their due, in order not to spread the virus.

Ordinary citizens are also, increasingly, doing their bit to assuage the effects of the forced confinement.

A florists in the Sarthe region of western France is losing heavily as his stock of roses and tulips can’t be preserved.

“Rather than throw them away we decided to send the flowers to hospitals throughout France to give a boost to the nursing staff,” said the florist, Philippe Bigot. “It’s our contribution”.

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