PARIS  – France saw a sharp drop in coronavirus infections Monday, with most related figures declining as well. 

Fatalities rose, however, an often customary occurrence after the weekend.

According to the Health Ministry, a total of 4,452 infections were reported, a more than substantial drop of 8,705 over the previous day’s 13,157 cases. Total infections now stand at 2,144,660.

Fatalities rose to 501, up by 286 over Sunday’s count of 215. The official death toll stands at 49,232.

Hospitalizations were recorded at 12,898, a drop of 687 from Sunday’s 13,585, with 1,946 of those patients remaining in intensive care, down by 123 from the day before.

Some 100 departments throughout the country remain in a vulnerable position with 4,039 clusters of infection considered serious nationwide.

Worldwide, the death toll from COVID-19 is nearly 1.4 million in 191 countries since the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China late December last year. The number of infections now stands at just over 59 million, according to the latest figures from US-based Johns Hopkins University.

France remains fourth on the list of the most coronavirus cases worldwide, behind the US, India and Brazil.

President Emmanuel Macron will give a televised address to the nation Tuesday at 8 p.m. to announce the gradual re-opening of non-essential businesses. Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said de-confinement will come in three phases: On Dec. 1, just before Christmas, and in January.

An extension of the lockdown, which had been rumored to be a possibility last week, seems a dwindling thought, given the positive trend in the number of infections and hospitalizations. There may however be a re-institution of a nightly curfew once confinement is lifted on Dec. 1.

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