Lunchtime News Thursday 16th April 2020

Coronavirus - There is encouraging news from the front line of the coronavirus epidemic this morning in France. For the first time, the number of people hospitalized due to Covid-19 has decreased as announced by the Director General of Health on Wednesday April 15.

On Wednesday evening, there were 513 fewer hospitalized patients compared to the previous day, out of a total of 31,779 patients. A positive balance which is based in particular on the number of patients discharged from the hospital: 2,190 in a single day.

Another encouraging trend is confirmed: the number of patients in intensive care fell for the seventh consecutive day, with 273 fewer cases on Wednesday. There are still 6,457 patients in intensive care in France.

However, in addition, 514 patients died in hospital to which are added 924 deaths in nursing homes.This brings the total toll of the epidemic in France to 17,167 dead.

Professor Didier Raoult treatment for coronavirus - French President Emmanuel Macron has called for the controversial dual therapy based on hydroxychloroquine to be tested as soon as possible, describing the infectious diseases specialist behind it as a "great scientist".

The French leader said in an exclusive interview with RFI radio that the therapy proposed by Professor Didier Raoult, whom he visited at the Marseille University hospital last week, "has been authorised by the competent authorities" and that it now "must be tested" to show "the effectiveness.

Raoult, a infectious diseases specialist, quickly released two studies as the COVID-19 pandemic reached Europe, allegedly showing that four out of five of those treated with the anti-malaria drug chloroquine had "favourable" outcomes.

World leaders including Donald Trump were quick to latch onto those studies but other scientists have criticized Raoult's methodology as too narrow and that as such, the results were purely observational.

France's National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety also warned of the dangerous side effects malaria and HIV drugs could have after three people's deaths were possibly linked to self-medication.

Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier  - According to reports the number of cases of coronavirus which has hit sailors onboard the aircraft carrier the Charles de Gaulle in Toulon in the Var, is not 50 but several hundred.

As of April 14th 1,767 sailors were tested. The vast majo