Golden Statue at the Trocadero square near the Eiffel tower wears a protective mask during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Paris, France, May 2, 2020. (Photo: AP)
PARIS, May 4 (Xinhua) -- The COVID-19 death toll in France has increased to 25,201 after 306 deaths were registered on Monday, the health ministry said.
The pace of deaths caused by the disease speeded up in the last 24 hours compared with 135 on Sunday, the lowest daily toll in six weeks. However, on Sundays the data reporting from nursing homes is often delayed, leading to catch-up on weekdays.
The patients in intensive care units fell to 3,696 from 3,819 on Sunday, and the number of hospitalizations declined further to 25,548, said the ministry in a statement.
A total of 131,863 people have tested positive for the COVID-19, up by 576 on a daily basis, while 51,371 have recovered since early March, it added.
"We must redouble our collective efforts... The scrupulous application of all barrier measures, the respect of the minimum physical distance of one meter and the drastic reduction of contacts are the best weapons to fight together against the spread of the virus," the ministry said.
From May 11, schools in France will gradually reopen and companies will be allowed to resume activities. Restaurants, cafes and beaches, though, will remain closed until at least June.
Wearing a mask will be mandatory in public transport and religious ceremonies will be allowed from June 1 if social distancing rules are respected, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe told the Senate early Monday when presenting the government's deconfinement plan.
The lockdown had been essential to curb the spread of the virus, "but its human cost, its social and economic cost, is colossal," said Philippe.
"Deconfinement will take place step by step, gradually. The pace and the methods are adapted to the specificities of each territory," he added.
By 89 yes votes to 81 against, the Senate rejected the government's plan. However, the votes do not have any legal effect.
The National Assembly, which approved the plan last week, has the last word on the issue and is likely to pass the government plan to unwind the movement restrictions that have been imposed since March 17.