France's coronavirus new deaths and cases slow down

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s coronavirus deaths rose by less than 100 for the ninth day running on Friday and new confirmed cases slowed again as the country gears up for easing lockdown.

France is to allow restaurants, bars and cafes to reopen from June 2 – though with more restrictions in Paris than elsewhere – while the government is also lifting a nationwide 100 km (60 mile) travel restriction.

Earlier in the day, statistics agency INSEE said fewer people died in France in early May than in the same period the two previous years following high excess death rates during the March-April peak of the epidemic.

The French health ministry said the number of fatalities rose by 52, or 0.2%, to 28,714, the fourth highest in the world.

New confirmed cases were up 0.4% – after a spike of 2.3% on Thursday due to better data tracking – at 149,668.

The ministry said the number of people in hospital fell by more than 500, or 3%, to 14,695, and the number of people in intensive care fell by 68, or 4.8%, to 1,361.

Both numbers have been on a downward trend since mid-April.

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