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The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalised in intensive care in France remained above 5,900 people on Wednesday, marking only a very slight decrease, according to figures published by the country’s health authorities.

The number of people in intensive care fell by 25 to 5,959 people as pressure on the hospital system remained high. The figure has remained near the threshold of 5,900 for the past 10 days, still far from the peak of the first wave in April 2020 (around 7,000).

The health ministry reported 34,968 new coronavirus cases, up 4.36 percent compared to last Wednesday, in the lowest week-on-week increase since mid-March as a third nationwide lockdown started to show some effect.

This year, week-on-week increases have only briefly dipped below the 4 percent level, in mid-February, and rose to more than 6 percent in late March-early April, before the government ordered the third lockdown just over two weeks ago.

The new cases took the total to 5.37 million. The government also reported 313 new deaths in hospitals, taking the cumulative toll to 101,881, health ministry data showed.

The number of people in hospital with the disease eased by 132 to 30,954 but remained well above the 30,000 level, where it has been since the start of the third lockdown on April 6.

The government said earlier on Wednesday that domestic travel restrictions imposed to tackle the spread of the virus are expected to be lifted on May 3 and said it was sticking to a base-case scenario of bars and restaurants being allowed to re-open outdoor seating by mid-May.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)

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