PARIS (Reuters) -The number of new COVID-19 infections in France is rising much more slowly and hospitalization declined on Wednesday, in the first week after the French government eased its third nationwide lockdown.
The number of new positive cases rose by 26,000 for a total of 5.71 million, an increase of 2.52% compared to a week ago and the lowest week-on-week increase since late July 2020, health ministry data showed. Late March to mid-April, week-on-week increases were as high as 5% to 6%.
The number of patients with COVID-19 in French hospitals dropped by 741 to 27,686 in the sharpest one-day drop since the end of November, in the last days of France's second nationwide lockdown.
Pressure on emergency wards also eased, with the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care down by 102 to 5,402 from a year-high of 6,0001 less than two weeks ago.
France also reported 244 new COVID-19 deaths in hospitals, virtually unchanged from Tuesday's 243, taking the cumulative toll to 105,631.
(Reporting by GV De ClercqEditing by Bill Berkrot)