France Covid-19 hospitalisations further decline

Covid-19 hospitalizations in France have further declined as the country, one of the hardest-hit by the pandemic in Europe, started a three-stage lockdown exit.

On Saturday, a total of 28,168 infected patients remained in hospitals, down by 480, consolidating a downward trend reported since mid-November, reports Xinhua news agency.

Meanwhile, 3,777 patients are in intensive care, compared to 3,883 on Friday, according to official data.

Also on Saturday, another 12,580 people tested positive for the virus which increased the overall caseload to 2,208,699.

The death toll rose to 52,127 with 213 new fatalities reported in the past 24 hours.

On Saturday, France started the first phase of its three-stage reopening strategy.

All non-essential shops resumed their activities under strict health protocol: providing at least 8 square metres of shop floor for each client, one-way circulation and sufficient ventilation.

Indoor religious services with 30 worshippers are allowed.

People can go out for exercises for up to three hours a day and within a 20 km radius of their homes instead of 1 km and only for an hour.

They, however, should continue to sign a document to go out.

The second stage of the government’s plan to return to normalcy is scheduled for December 15 if the number of daily confirmed cases is brought to under 5,000 per day.

The confinement will then be lifted, but a 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. curfew will apply to the whole country except on December 24 and 31.

Theatres and museums will reopen provided they reinforce the health protocol.

Restaurants, bars, cafes and gyms would have to stay shut until January 20 to avoid the virus resurgence.