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France's Virus Death Toll Passes 27,500 As New Cases Dip In Italy

French health officials say the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has increased by 563 to 141,919, while Italy gets promising news.

France's newly reported coronavirus deaths were three times lower than 24 hours earlier while new confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease kept on rising at the same slow rate of 0.4 per cent as the country continues to unwind its lockdown.

In a statement, the health ministry said there were 104 new fatalities on Friday compared to 351 on Thursday, bringing the total to 27,529, still the fourth-highest in the world, after those of the United States, Britain and Italy, and just ahead of Spain.

In a statement, the ministry added the number of confirmed cases was up 563 to 141,919.

"The COVID-19 epidemic is still active in France so we must remain cautious (...)", the ministry said, also mentioning the case of a 9-year-old boy who died a week ago in the southern town of Marseille after developing a syndrome akin to Kawasaki disease and being in contact with the coronavirus though not suffering from any of its symptoms.

France is now experiencing a partial lifting of a near two month lockdown. Image: Getty Images

This new life-threatening inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19 has affected 230 children in Europe and killed two so far this year, the second fatality having occurred in Britain.

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The health ministry said the number of people in hospital with COVID-19 infection declined by 602 to 19,861 on Friday, the total falling below the 20,000 threshold for the first time since March 29. The number of people in intensive care was down 96 to 2203.

Both numbers - key indicators for the French health system's ability to cope with the epidemic - have been on a downtrend for four to five weeks and peaked at more than 32,000 and more than 7000 respectively in early to mid-April.

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Meanwhile, Italian health officials say 120,205 people in the country have recovered from the coronavirus.

Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy have fallen to 242 against 262 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency says, while the daily tally of new cases dipped to 789 from 992 on the prior day.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 now stands at 31,610 the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain.

The number of confirmed cases amounts to 223,885, the fifth highest global tally behind those of the United States, Spain, Britain and Russia. People registered as currently carrying the illness fell to 72,070 from 76,440 the day before.

There were 808 people in intensive care on Friday, down from 855 on Thursday, maintaining a long-running decline.

Of those originally infected, 120,205 were declared recovered against 115,228 a day earlier.

The agency said 1.859 million people had been tested for the virus against 1.820 million on Thursday, out of a population of about 60 million. c