France reports smallest increase of daily COVID-19 deaths since end of March


An elderly woman is admitted at an emergency room at a hosptial in Strasberg, France on March 19, 2020. (Photo: AP)

PARIS, May 1 (Xinhua) -- A further 218 COVID-19 patients had died in France in the past 24 hours, the smallest one-day increase since the end of March, French Director General for Health Jerome Salomon said Friday at a press briefing.

The new deaths took the country's coronavirus toll to 24,594, Salomon said.

Coronavirus-related hospitalizations maintained a running slowdown. There were 25,887 infected people in hospitals, down by 396 in the last 24 hours. Of those hospitalized, 3,878 required life support, lower than 4,019 registered on Thursday.

Salomon noted that hospital admissions were "falling slowly but regularly," easing pressure on France's hospitals. However, he reiterated the need to respect movement restrictions.

A total of 130,185 COVID-19 cases were confirmed, up from 129,581, representing a single-day increase of 604 infections, down from Wednesday's 1,607.

Amid tentative signs of improvement, France, which imposed a national lockdown on March 17, plans to unwind confinement rules gradually on May 11.

"May 11 will not be the passage to normal life," President Emmanuel Macron said early on Friday in a speech to mark May 1.

"There will be several phases and May 11 will be one of them," Macron said. "It is too early to tell you that the crisis is over."