France’s daily coronavirus data paves way for further lockdown easing

FILE PHOTO: Cinema decorators work on a scenography piece for “Adieu Monsieur Haffmann”, an adaptation of a theatre play based in 1940s, on a street of the Montmartre district, as the shooting will resume following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Paris, France, May 25, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s coronavirus death toll rose by less than 100 for the seventh day running on Wednesday while the number of confirmed cases climbed only modestly, according to data which indicated the worst of the pandemic could be over for the country for now.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will on Thursday detail new steps in the lifting of a two-month lockdown that was imposed on March 17, which could include the reopening of bars and restaurants in some parts of France.

Earlier on Wednesday, the French government’s contact-tracing app plan was approved by the lower house of parliament, paving the way for a weekend launch.

The French health ministry said in a statement that the number of fatalities from the coronavirus had risen by 66, or 0.2%, to 28,596, the fourth-highest tally in the world.

The daily death toll increased on average by 910 between April 1 and April 15 as France struggled to contain the outbreak.

The number of confirmed cases rose by 191, or 0.1%, to 145,555, a lower rate of increase than the daily average of 0.2% seen during the last seven days.

Meanwhile, the number of patients in hospital with coronavirus fell by 584, or 3.6%, to 16,264, the sharpest decline to date. Intensive care patients dropped by 54 to 1,555, continuing the downward trend of the last almost seven weeks.

The key indicators of the ability of the French health system to cope with the pandemic peaked at more than 32,000 and 7,000 respectively in early to mid-April.

Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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