International Covid-19 wrap: France sets grisly deaths record, hope in Italy

Vodacom and Discovery are funding virtual doctor consultations for all South Africans to determine who needs testing.  (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)
Vodacom and Discovery are funding virtual doctor consultations for all South Africans to determine who needs testing. (Photo by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images)

France on Friday reported 588 more coronavirus deaths in hospital, its biggest toll over the last 24 hours since the epidemic began, AFP reported. 

The new deaths brought to 5 091 the total number of people who have died in hospital of Covid-19 in France, top health official Jerome Salomon told reporters.

There is no daily toll for those who died of Covid-19 in old people's homes in France. But Salomon said that a total of 1 416 people had died in such establishments from Covid-19 in the epidemic. This brings the total French toll to at least 6 507.

Hope for Italy

AFP has also reported that Italy saw more evidence Friday that it might have made it through the worst of the coronavirus pandemic despite the world-leading death toll growing by 766 to 14 681.

In new data from the civil protection service the daily rise of officially registered infections dropped to a new low of just 4%.

The number of people who have been declared fully recovered has soared by 17.3% to 19 758 over the past 48 hours. 

The situation in some of Italy's worst-hit regions also appears to be gradually easing.

Eritrea 'must release political prisoners'

Al Jazeera reports that Amnesty International has urged the government of Eritrea to "immediately and unconditionally" release political detainees held in the country's jails amid the threat of the new coronavirus pandemic.

Amnesty International said "the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions" in Eritrean prisons increase chances of transmission of Covid-19, the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Calling Eritrea a country "notorious for arbitrarily arresting or forcibly disappearing people". 

"We join Eritrean families and activists who are extremely worried about their loved ones in calling on the Eritrean authorities to immediately and unconditionally release Ciham Ali and all others jailed simply for exercising their rights," said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International's director for East and Southern Africa.

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