France reported a lower daily death rate from COVID-19 on Saturday, saying that the country's coronavirus epidemic had reached a "plateau", albeit at a very high level.
French health official Jerome Salomon said 353 more people died in hospitals and 290 in nursing homes to increase the total number of deaths to 13,832. The day before, 554 had died in hospitals and 433 in nursing homes.
"A very high plateau for the epidemic appears to have been reached, but the epidemic remains very active," he told reporters. "We have to be absolutely vigilant."
France has been banned since March 17 to slow the spread of the epidemic. Only essential trips are permitted, which must be justified with a signed sheet of paper.
For the third day in a row, the number of coronavirus patients in the intensive care unit declined, with 121 fewer people in such units for a total of 6,883.
Salomon said if the plateau trend continues, it means: "We have managed to take a first step together, and the closure is showing its first impact."
But he warned: "There remains a very high plateau … there are still a lot of hospital admissions … It is far too early – and not sensible – to make predictions about the future."
French President Emmanuel Macron will speak to the nation on Monday for the third time during the crisis and is expected to announce that the ban will be extended beyond the current April 15 expiry date.
Macron has to take a cautious course amid the preliminary signs of improvement and tell people that they still have to stay at home while providing pointers on how to release the detention.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)