France virus report faults elderly care

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A report into France's handling of the coronavirus has criticised the government for not providing enough care for older adults living in retirement homes.

The report's authors concluded that people over age 85 were more heavily affected by COVID-19 in France than they were in the United Kingdom or the United States.

But the report acknowledges that the situation in France was not as bad as it was in countries such as Spain and Poland.

France has Europe's third-largest pandemic death toll after the UK and Italy, and infections have continued to rage in recent weeks.

"With 1332 deaths per million inhabitants, it is well above the European average (1092 deaths per million)," the report said of France's COVID-19 mortality rate.

The authors attributed the discrepancy mainly to the first wave of the pandemic, which was particularly strong in parts of eastern France.

To prepare the report, five experts heard from about 200 representatives from the French government, health care system and scientific community.

The report recommends "improving the care system for the elderly in institutions" in France, including by strengthening the medical facilities in care homes and co-ordinating them better with hospital support.