May 16, 2020 / 5:29 PM / 14 days ago

France says coronavirus death toll rises to 27,625

A sign reading informations about the safety restrictions due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the entrance of a beach on the Promenade des Anglais, after France reopened its beaches to the public as it softens its strict lockdown rules, in Nice, France, May 16, 2020. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

PARIS (Reuters) - French health authorities reported 96 new coronavirus deaths on Saturday, as the country eases from a two month lockdown.

In a statement, the health ministry said the figure had fallen slightly from 104 fatalities on Friday. This brings France’s total to 27,625, the fourth-highest tally in the world, after the United States, Britain, and Italy, and just ahead of Spain.

The ministry said the number of people in hospital fell to 19,432 from 19,861 on Friday and the number of people in intensive care dropped to 2,132 from 2,203 on Friday.

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 over 32,000 and over 7,000 respectively in early to mid-April.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Edmund Blair and Alexandra Hudson

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