PARIS (Reuters) – French health authorities reported 19,461 new confirmed COVID-19 infections on Thursday, representing a weekly rise of less than 2% for the first time in almost a year.
The total number of hospitalisations for the disease fell by 598, decreasing for the 10th day in a row to 23,656, the lowest since October 31.
The country reported 131 new deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday for an overall toll of 107,205, the eighth highest in the world.
The gliding seven-day average of new deaths fell further to 200, the lowest since Oct 26, from a 2021 high of 450 in early February.
After exiting its third lockdown at the start of the month, France is hoping to lift its last anti-COVID-19 measures at the start of July.
The next step will be the reopening on May 19 of bars’ and restaurants’ terraces as well as movie theatres and museums.
The seven-day moving average of daily new cases has fallen to about 16,100 from more than 42,000 mid-April, when week-on-week increases in new cases were still over 6%.
With 5.84 million infections counted since the start of the pandemic, France is the fourth hardest hit country globally behind the United States, India and Brazil.
(Reporting by Marc Angrand and Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Jan Harvey)