Rates of coronavirus infection in France have further decreased and the number of patients with Covid-19 in hospital and in intensive care has continued to fall, figures from the Ministry of Health showed, a sign that social distance is keeping contagion under control for a while.

Almost two weeks after the blockade ended, data from the Ministry of Health on Saturday showed that the number of confirmed cases increased by 250, to 144,806 in 24 hours, an increase of 0.2%, below the average increase of 0.3 % of the last seven days and well below the average of 0.8% of increase observed in the last week of confinement.

Italy and Spain also reported confirmed cases rising 0.3% on average over the past seven days.

The number of people hospitalized with coronavirus in France fell by 205, to 17,178 on Saturday, continuing a gradual decline for more than five weeks since April 14. The number of people in intensive care fell by 36 or 2.1% to 1,665, an uninterrupted drop for six weeks since the April 8 peak at 7,148.

Both figures are key measures of a national health system’s ability to deal with the epidemic.

The French government is closely watching the infection rate and hospital numbers in order to decide whether to loosen blocking measures further in the coming weeks.

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