PARIS (Reuters) – France became the fourth country to pass the 4,000 coronavirus deaths threshold on Wednesday, after Italy, Spain and the United States, as the government scrambles to stay ahead of the curve regarding ventilator-equipped beds that are quickly filling up.
French health authorities reported 509 new deaths from the disease, taking the total to 4,032. But, after speeding up the previous two days, the rate of increase of deaths has decelerated in France, which is now in its third week of lockdown to try to slow the spread of the virus.
Speaking by videoconference in front of a parliament committee created to hold the government accountable for the way it handles the crisis, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the lockdown would likely be unwound gradually rather than in one go.
The government has ordered people to stay…