Paris (AFP)

France is still accelerating on Monday the evacuations of coronavirus patients from the Great East, particularly affected, while the epidemic continues to spread, with more than 2,600 dead, including former Minister Patrick Devedjian.

On Sunday, French army helicopters and a German military plane transported patients from the Covid-19 from this region to south-west Germany, and medicalized TGVs evacuated patients to New Aquitaine.

"There has been a 10% increase in patients entering since yesterday (Saturday), a reflection of contaminations that occurred about two weeks ago, before the containment measures", underlined the Director General of Health, Jérôme Salomon during his daily press briefing.

A total of 4,632 severe cases require very heavy intensive care, added Mr. Salomon. In 24 hours, 359 new patients were placed in intensive care.

- Monitor entry into resuscitation -

"It is this daily number of resuscitation entries that is the most important element to monitor in order to predict our capacity to manage the most serious patients. It reflects the dynamics of the epidemic," said Mr. Solomon.

"If the containment measures and barrier gestures have been respected, we should see a reduction in the number of people entering intensive care by the weekend," he added.

A total of 7,132 people were discharged from the hospital (compared to 6,624 on Saturday).

The Covid-19 made a first victim in the national political landscape with the death of former Minister Patrick Devedjian, a familiar figure of the French.

In addition, singer Christophe, 74, composer of "Aline", was hospitalized because of "respiratory failure", according to his entourage, who was unable to confirm Sunday contamination with coronavirus.

The largest evacuations since the start of the coronavirus epidemic took place on Sunday to relieve hospitals in the Grand Est, one of the regions most affected by the pandemic, but not the only one.

Jérôme Salomon clarified that 250 patients benefited from transfers to unclog saturated hospitals.

- Masks arrived from China -

One of the government's goals is to increase the number of resuscitation beds, according to the battle plan presented at a lengthy press conference on Saturday.

The executive plans to increase to 14,000 beds in intensive care against 5,000 at the start of the crisis, and the capacity to test the population will be amplified, reaching 80,000 tests per day in late April.

Faced with the glaring lack of masks, the source of a controversy, more than a billion protective masks were ordered, notably from China. A cargo plane from this country with almost 100 tonnes of medical equipment on board, including 5.5 million medical masks, landed at Roissy airport on Sunday evening.

According to the government, France produces eight million masks per week, which makes it essential to import these health materials during the health crisis.

In addition, the situation in accommodation facilities for the elderly (Ehpad) continues to cause concern. Seniors are at greatest risk, even if coronavirus can strike young people, as this week recalled the death of a 16-year-old girl in the Paris region.

Four residents have died in the last five days in a nursing home in the Vosges, half of the 116 residents are considered "suspected cases" of contamination by the coronavirus.

Ten residents of an Ardèche department nursing home died within ten days of contracting the coronavirus, and six other residents of the establishment, also infected, are hospitalized.

© 2020 AFP