French coronavirus infections slow again as more shops prepare to open

·1 min read
Parisian shops get ready to reopen on Saturday

PARIS (Reuters) - The rate of new coronavirus infections slowed again in France on Friday, the day before shops can resume selling non-essential goods, health ministry data showed.

The number of daily new infections fell to 12,459, compared to 13,563 on Thursday and 22,882 last Friday. The cumulative reported total now stands at over 2.19 million.

The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 fell by 662 to 28,648 and the number of people in intensive care by 135 to 3,883, continuing a downtrend of the past two weeks.

President Emmanuel Macron said this week that a nationwide virus lockdown in place since Oct. 30 could be lifted on Dec. 15 if by then the number of new infections per day fell to 5,000 and the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care declined to between 2,500 and 3,000.

The health ministry also reported 957 deaths from the virus on Friday, including a three-day batch of 564 deaths in retirement homes and a 24-hour tally of 393 in hospitals. On Thursday, 339 people died in hospitals.

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Cynthia Osterman)