PARIS: The number of patients in French hospitals with COVID-19 fell on Tuesday and the number of new coronavirus infections increased at the slowest pace since June 2020, health ministry data showed.
As France exited its third lockdown a week ago and is hoping to gradually unwind all its major restrictive measures by the end of next month, Prime Minister Jean Castex said COVID-19 indicators showed the situation was improving.
"Today the evolution of the epidemic is rather favourable. The downward trend is clear. I am vigilant and I am optimistic," Castex told France 2 television.
The government is also hoping that a stepped-up vaccination drive will help bring the epidemic under control, he added.
The ministry reported a total of 4,743 people in intensive care units with COVID-19, down by 127 and the eighth consecutive fall. The overall number of people in hospital with the virus also fell for the eighth consecutive day and was down by 638 to 25,028.
France reported 19,791 new coronavirus infections, taking the total to 5.8 million. The increase of 2.11 per cent compared to last Tuesday was the lowest week-on-week increase since late June 2020.
France also reported 252 new COVID-19 deaths, including 15 deaths in retirement homes over the last four days.