France records 243 new virus deaths
France reported another 243 coronavirus deaths on Friday, raising its total toll to 26,230, while the number of patients in intensive care continued to fall.
While the country has been one of the hardest hit in Europe, it has seen the daily death rate steadily drop and is due to start emerging from a strict lockdown on Monday.
In Friday's daily update, France reported 93 fewer patients suffering from the coronavirus in intensive care, dropping the total to 2,868. The figure rose above 7,000 at the peak of the country's epidemic in April.
Over the previous 24 hours, 111 coronavirus-linked deaths were recorded in hospitals and 132 in nursing homes.
Nationwide, there were 22,274 patients in hospital with COVID-19.
The lockdown in place since mid-March will start to ease on Monday.
The Ile-de-France region around Paris, Hauts-de-France in the north, Grand Est in the east and central eastern Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes account for 72 percent of hospitalisations, according to authorities.
The first three, as well as the southeastern region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comte, still carry a red classification denoting heightened concern. In those areas the restrictions will lift more slowly.