France records lowest Covid-19 daily death toll in six weeks

A statue wearing a protective mask at the Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, pictured on May 2, 2020.
A statue wearing a protective mask at the Trocadero square near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, pictured on May 2, 2020. © Benoit Tessier, REUTERS

The number of people who died of coronavirus infection in France increased by 135 to 24,895 on Sunday, the lowest daily increase since March 22, government data showed.

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Sunday's daily tally of Covid-19 fatalities marked another drop after the 166 recorded a day earlier.

Health Ministry officials said the number of people in intensive care units fell to 3,819 from 3,827 on Saturday, down for a 25th consecutive day.

The number of people in hospital with coronavirus also fell again to 25,815 from 25,827, continuing an uninterrupted fall since more than two weeks.

Health officials have previously warned that on Sundays the data reporting from nursing homes is often delayed, leading to a catch-up during the week.

Care homes for the elderly have so far accounted for more than a third of all fatalities recorded in France since the start of the outbreak.

The country is set for an easing of restrictions on May 11 following a strict nationwide lockdown, which was imposed on March 17.

However, the government has decided to extend a "state of health emergency" imposed to fight the coronavirus pandemic for two months until July 24. 

Quarantine confusion

A proposal to be put to parliament on Monday says plans this month to lift the public health emergency, which began on March 24, would "be premature" and "could see a risk of the outbreak" intensifying.

"We are going to have to live with the virus for a while," Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said after a cabinet meeting on Saturday.

The bill also lays out the quarantine conditions for people coming to France from abroad, though there has been considerable confusion as to which travellers the restrictions will apply to.

France's health minister initially said all travellers to France, including French citizens returning home, would face a compulsory two-week quarantine and possible isolation upon arrival.

However, the French presidency on Sunday said the quarantine rules would not apply to visitors coming from EU and Schengen countries, "regardless of their nationality".

The presidency added that rules for other travellers would be clarified by the French foreign ministry "in the coming days".

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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