France sees further improvement in key Covid indicators

France on Tuesday saw its daily coronavirus cases fall below 10,000 for the third day in a row while coronavirus-related hospitalisation maintained a running slowdown, official data showed.

Another 8,083 people tested positive for Covid-19 in a 24-hour span, bringing France’s total number of coronavirus cases to 2,230,571, the world’s fifth biggest tally, after the US, India, Brazil and Russia, Xinhua news agency reported.

A further 363 Covid-19 patients in hospitals had succumbed to the disease in one day, fewer than Monday’s 406. Adding the number of deaths reported in nursing homes, the combined fatalities stood at 775 in one day, bringing the cumulative death toll to 53,506 since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in France.

Hospital admissions fell by 619 to 27,639. A total of 3,605 Covid-19 patients were in intensive care, down by 146 over the last 24 hours, consolidating an improvement in the epidemic situation.

Last week, President Emmanuel Macron said that the peak of the pandemic’s second wave had passed in France, allowing gradual easing of the nationwide coronavirus lockdown which was imposed on October 30.

Starting on November 28, non-essential shops in France are allowed to reopen until 9 p.m. and under strict health conditions. Outdoor exercises are allowed for up to three hours a day, and people can go up to 20 km from their homes.

If the situation improves further and the number of Covid-19 infections is brought down to below 5,000 per day, the lockdown could be lifted on December 15, with cinemas, theaters and museums allowed to reopen under strict health protocols, Macron said last week.

But some curbs will remain, including the closure of restaurants, bars and ski resorts until January.

On Tuesday, Macron said that he was considering measures to dissuade French skiers from travelling abroad to look for open ski resorts.

“If there are countries, within or outside the EU, that keep their ski resorts open, we’ll put in place control measures to deter our citizens from going to areas where we think there is a risk of infection,” Macron said.

The government would define these measures in the coming days “so as not to sacrifice all the efforts we have made,” he added.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including France, Germany, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.

According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of November 26, there were 213 Covid-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 49 of them were in clinical trials.