France Reports Fewest New Coronavirus Infections in a Week

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France’s new coronavirus cases fell to the lowest in a week on Sunday, and the number of intensive-care patients dropped for a fourth day.

Infections rose by 2,937 to 132,591 cases, the smallest increase since April 5, the health ministry said in an emailed statement. The death toll since the start of the outbreak rose by 561 to 14,393 fatalities, the smallest rise in four days.

France’s confinement measures are “producing their first results,” the health ministry said. “We’re observing the beginning of a very high leveling off, but we must remain vigilant because hospitals and ICUs are taking care of a very large number of patients.”

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France is the third-hardest hit country in Europe behind Italy and Spain, where the number of new cases is also slowing, following lockdowns to blunt the virus’s spread. French President Emmanuel Macron is due to address the nation on Monday and could announce an extension of France’s confinement measures until at least mid-May, Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The number of patients in intensive care, which French health authorities see as a gauge of the outbreak’s intensity, decreased to 6,845, the least since April 4. The number of ICU patients fell for the first time on Thursday.

France started gradually including cases and deaths in nursing homes this month, after underreporting the severity of the outbreak in prior weeks, resulting in volatile figures over the past week.

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