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Covid-19: France records 242 new deaths, marking a major drop in its daily toll

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France reported a big fall in its coronavirus death toll on Sunday, with 242 deaths in 24 hours, a drop of more than a third on the previous day.

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The epidemic has now claimed 22,856 lives in the country since the beginning of March, health officials said.

The deaths in hospitals – 152 – was the lowest daily toll in five weeks, they said, while 90 people died in nursing and care homes.

The numbers of people leaving intensive care units (ICUs) has also outpaced the numbers of those entering those units.

The lockdown ordered by President Emmanuel Macron to slow the spread of the virus has been in place in France since March 17 and is due to be lifted on May 11.

France has also offered retailers some relief by saying it wants them to reopen on May 11, although some curbs could remain in certain areas to delay any new wave of the virus.

Unwinding the lockdown

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe is due to present the government's plan to unwind the lockdown to parliament on April 28, and parliament will then vote on the measures.

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