Paris, May 19 (IANS) France reported 131 deaths caused by the coronavirus in the last 24 hours as admissions to intensive care units (ICUs) fell below 2,000 for the first time since March 22, official figures showed on Monday.
In total, the coronavirus-related deaths stood at 28,239 -- 17,589 dead in hospitals and 10,650 in nursing homes and other medico-social establishments, Xinhua news agency reported.
Currently, 19,015 people infected with the COVID-19 are hospitalized, 346 less than on Sunday, while the number of patients who required life support fell to 1,998, a one-day decrease of 89.
Confirmed cases totaled 142,903, up by 492 in one day, faster than Sunday's increase of 120. Some 61,728 patients were cured and left hospitals.
A week after easing anti-coronavirus confinement, France on Monday further relaxed restriction rules. Beaches reopened in low-risk areas where fishing and surfing were allowed. People were required to respect distancing rules while enjoying the sun and sea.
Some 185,000 students returned to 4,000 secondary schools (first four years of secondary education for 11 to 15 years old) in regions classified as "green zones" where the virus circulates at a slow pace.
"The consequences of not going to school are much more serious. There are many doctors who have said that going to schools is less dangerous than staying at home. Our children must not be victims of health measures," Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer said.
The government will assess the impact of easing containment rules on the virus circulation in early June to decide whether to open restaurants and cafes in green zones and allow schools reopening in worst-hit areas, or maintain restriction for a longer period.