France Forecasts 6% GDP Drop in 2020, Coronavirus Death Toll Shoots Up to 12,000

France Forecasts 6% GDP Drop in 2020, Coronavirus Death Toll Shoots Up to 12,000

For the first time, France has seen a drop in the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care.

The French government has announced it expects the country’s GDP to drop 6% in 2020 because of the coronavirus crisis, while France’s COVID-19 death toll has shot up after the counting of fatalities in nursery homes.

The loss of business because of the coronavirus lockdown is going to cause a 6% decline of the French economy this year, according to Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire

Le Maire announced on Thursday a coronavirus relief plan would be more than doubled to EUR 100 billion.

The new spending will sharply increase the national budget deficit to 7.6% of GDP for 2020, against an Eurozone limit of 3%.

It will also spike France’s public debt to 112% of GDP, up from a 99% forecast earlier this year, the French Finance Minister told financial daily Les Echos, as cited by AFP and France24.

“This debt is necessary to keep companies from going bankrupt and our economy from sinking,” Le Maire said in a joint interview with Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin.

“There are still uncertainties and this forecast could still change, depending on how long this confinement lasts and how we come out of it,” he said.

Le Maire, who is going to present a new state budget for 2020 next week, said just additional health spending to tackle the coronavirus outbreak would be increased from two to seven billion euros.

The French economy already saw a 6% decline in the first quarter of 2020 as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, and is already in recession.

The French central bank described the results as France’s worst performance since World War II, noting that economic activity had plunged by 32% since the lockdown began.

France’s coronavirus death toll has risen to 12,210, with nursery homes accounting for more than a third of all fatalities, health officials said Thursday

Jérôme Salomon, head of the public health authority, told reporters that the total number of fatalities from COVID-19 in hospitals was 8,044 so far, with a further 4,166 recorded at care homes for the elderly and dependent.

“Thanks to these measures, we are in the process of putting the brakes on the epidemic,” he said with respect to the nationwide lockdown.

Salomon announced that for the first time the number of people in intensive care has fallen slightly for the first time since the start of the outbreak, France24 reported.

In his words, there are now 7,062 people in intensive care at hospitals across France, 82 fewer from a day earlier.

On Wednesday, the French Presidency said the coronavirus lockdown introduced on March 17 will be extended beyond the original deadline of April 15.

(Banner image: Emmanuel Macron on Twitter)

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