French coronavirus cases see lowest 24-hour rise since lockdown


PARIS (Reuters) – The number of confirmed new coronavirus infections in France increased by 115, or 0.1%, to 144,921 on Sunday, the lowest daily increase since the country went into lockdown on March 17, the health ministry said in a statement.

But the number of patients in hospital with COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, increased by seven to 17,185 after falling every day without interruption since April 15.

A health ministry official said that because of the long Ascension weekend in France, hospitals were slower in reporting data and people were also staying in hospital slightly longer.

The number of people in intensive care continued its uninterrupted decline of the past six weeks, falling by 10, or 0.6%, to 1,655. It was the slowest decline since the peak of the crisis on April 8, when 7,148 people were in intensive care.

French coronavirus data typically have a lag on Sundays as some institutions do not report until Mondays, when the numbers usually increase as data reporting catches up.

The downward trend in confirmed cases remained intact, with the seven-day moving average setting a new low at 359, despite the end of a 55-day lockdown on May 11.

Epidemiologist Laurent Toubiana, director of the IRSAN health data institute, said the coronavirus may not come back, unlike previous pandemics such as the 1918 Spanish flu.

“If we do not see a quick resurgence of the epidemic, we might get a break for a few weeks. After that, we will see,” he said on BFM news channel.

The health ministry did not publish death statistics or data on possible cases. It said the data would be updated on Monday.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq, Editing by Timothy Heritage