France’s COVID-19 deaths top 29,000

France on Wednesday reported 81 new COVID-19 deaths, a slower increase over the 107 fatalities registered a day earlier, bringing the country’s toll from the coronavirus-caused disease to 29,021 since March 1.

The Health Ministry said in a statement that more than a third of the fatalities (10,350) occurred in retirement homes, Xinhua reported.

Figures released by the ministry showed that the number of patients hospitalized or admitted to intensive care units continued to decline.

Currently 13,514 people are hospitalized, 514 less than on Tuesday. The number of patients in intensive care decreased by 43 to 1,210, it added.

A total of 151,677 people have tested positive for the coronavirus to date, including 352 new infections confirmed in the last 24 hours. The number of patients who have recovered stood at 69,455, a single-day increase of 668.

France entered the second phase of easing the lockdown on Tuesday, allowing people to sip their drinks in cafes and bars, as well as enjoy meals in restaurants which were closed for nearly three months to stem the epidemic spread.

Museums, parks and beaches are able to receive visitors. Swimming pools, gyms, amusement parks and theatres in so-called “green” zones also reopened.