French COVID-19 cases in hospitals dip

French cafes and restaurants are preparing to re-open as the number of COVID-19 cases declines.
French cafes and restaurants are preparing to re-open as the number of COVID-19 cases declines.

The French health ministry says people should continue taking protective measures against the coronavirus even as cases in hospitals and intensive care continue to fall.

As France readies for a second phase of easing restrictions from Tuesday, with parks, bars, restaurants and beaches expected to reopen, the ministry said "good news should not make us forget the danger of the virus".

The ministry said in a daily update that 31 coronavirus deaths were recorded in hospitals in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 18,506 since March 1.

It said fatalities from nursing homes would be updated on Tuesday.

The ministry said there were still 14,288 cases in hospital on Monday, a slight drop from 14,322 on Sunday, compared with 16,798 a week ago.

The number of cases in intensive care stood at 1302, with nine new cases since Monday, compared with 1609 a week ago.

Since the start of the outbreak, 101,739 people have been hospitalised in France with COVID-19, the ministry said.

Australian Associated Press