France recorded its highest daily coronavirus death toll on Monday, with 418 new deaths bringing the total 3,024, as the pandemic continues to overwhelm hospital systems around the world France24 reported.
A total of 4,376 new cases were also documented Monday, bringing the total to 44,550.
As the death toll spiked, army helicopters were transporting critical patients overseas to Switzerland, Germany and Luxembourg as hospitals try to free up hospital beds. Six patients were taken on three Caiman NH90 medicalized helicopters to Bern and Frankfurt.
The Grand Est region is the first to be considered overwhelmed by the pandemic as it has traveled west to Paris, according to Reuters.
The country has doubled the number of intensive care beds to 10,000 as it races against time to reach 14,500. The number of intensive cases reached 5,107 Monday, a 10 percent increase since March 1.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has warned citizens that the worst is still upcoming as hospitals reach their capacities. Experts told Reuters they expect the “growth phase” to last two weeks and then the virus will continue to spread but less quickly.
France initiated a national lockdown on March 17. It currently has the sixth most cases in the world and the fourth most deaths, closely ahead of the U.S. that has risen to 3,030, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.