France reports 5,962 COVID-19 patients in intensive care units

April 23, 2021 1:32 PM EDT

FILE PHOTO: A medical staff member, wearing protective gear, works in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where patients suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are treated at the hospital in Valenciennes, France, April 22, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossig

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PARIS (Reuters) - French health authorities reported that 5,962 people were in intensive care units with COVID-19 on Friday, 19 fewer than a day earlier, but the figure remains at a very high level as the country prepares to exit its third lockdown.

The total number of people in hospital with COVID-19 fell for a fourth consecutive day, by 196 to 30,438.

France also reported 32,340 new confirmed cases, with the increase of 4.15% compared to last Friday the lowest week-on-week rise since mid-March.

Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Thursday that the peak of the third wave now seemed to be "behind us".

He said the country will lift domestic travel restrictions from May 3 but a 7 p.m. curfew will remain in place until the epidemic is under control.

(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten and GV De Clercq; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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