France reports lower coronavirus death toll, hospital numbers fall
Oil and chemical tankers wait off Fos-sur-Mer harbour to unload their cargo of oil and chemicals on April 24, 2020, as the country is under lockdown to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus.–AFP
France on Friday reported 389 more coronavirus deaths, a lower toll than in previous days, and also welcomed new falls in the number of patients in the hospital and intensive care.
The deaths of 305 people in hospitals and 84 in nursing homes brought France's total toll to 22,245, top health official Jerome Salomon told reporters.
He added that there were now 561 fewer people in hospital and 183 fewer in intensive care, continuing a brighter trend seen in previous days.
The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care has now fallen below 5,000, with 4,870 needing such treatment.
But despite the gradually improving data, Salomon said: "The circulation of the virus remains high. We must be mobilised and respect social distancing, which must become a reflex."
President Emmanuel Macron has announced that the over month-long lockdown to battle the virus will be eased from May 11.
The details of how this so-called de-confinement will take place remain sketchy, with some schools set to reopen but establishments like cafes and restaurants staying closed.
"We must continue all our collective efforts with single aim -- to arrive at the lowest level of circulation of the virus on May 11 and the lowest number of patients," said Salomon.
"For the de-confinement to be a success we must respect the lockdown and social distancing"