The toll of COVID-19 victims in France increases from 218 to 24,594 | New

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PARIS (Reuters) - Le nombre de personnes décédées d'une infection à coronavirus en France a augmenté de 218 à 24 594 vendredi, tandis que les hospitalisations pour la maladie et les personnes en unité de soins intensifs ont continué de diminuer, a déclaré vendredi le chef de la santé publique française.

Jerome Salomon said the death toll rose 0.9% from Thursday, a rate of increase lower than the previous 24 hours.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 infection fell further to 25,887 from 26,283 on Thursday, and the number of people in intensive care fell to 3,878 from 4,019. Both figures are trending downward for more than two weeks.

The reproductive rate of the disease, known as OI, in France had gone from 0.6 to 0.7 on average instead of 0.5, Salomon said at a press conference.

“It is because of a gradual return to activity,” he said.

This figure is one of many indicators that authorities are watching when they decide to loosen restrictions on coronaviruses for the public.

Public health experts say that an R number of 1 or more would not loosen the locks.

A number of 0.7 means that, on average, 100 people infected with Covid-19 infect 70 other people. This would mean that the number of new infections would decrease over time.

France plans to start ending its lockdown from May 11, but strict guidelines will remain in place with regions classified as red and green zones based on the spread of the virus.

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Chris Reese and Jane Merriman)

    

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