France’s COVID-19 death toll rises to 29,319

Another 23 patients with the COVID-19 in France died in the past 24 hours, taking the country’s death toll to 29,319 since March 1, the Health Ministry said.

Patients hospitalized dropped by 283 to 11,678, confirming the downward trend since early April. Some 933 remained in intensive care, down by 22. The number of confirmed cases increased by 545 to 155,136, said the ministry in a statement on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

“Nearly a month after the start of de-confinement, all of the epidemiological indicators are at satisfactory levels throughout the metropolitan territory and do not indicate an epidemic resurgence,” the ministry said.

It urged people to keep vigilant and continue to respect barrier gestures and physical distancing because the virus is still circulating in many regions.

France, one of the European countries worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, declared a state of health emergency on March 24. In May, the government decided to extend it until July 10.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting early Wednesday, Sibeth Ndiaye, the government spokesperson, said it was not justified to extend the state of health emergency amid improved epidemic situation.

Meanwhile, the government has presented a draft bill that will allow the executive to uphold, if necessary, the ability to impose restrictive measures beyond July 10 for a period of four months.

After July 10, “the prime minister will retain the possibility of regulating movement and access to means of transport, establishments open to the public, such as nightclubs, and to decide on the gauges for rallies on public roads,” said the spokesperson.

The bill will be debated on June 17 at the National Assembly before being sent to the Senate.

President Emmanuel Macron will make an address to the nation on Sunday evening to shed more light on the recent development in the epidemic situation and outline new measures to further ease lockdown measures, announced his office.