France sees 52 more coronavirus deaths but no sign of epidemic resurging

France on Friday reported 52 coronavirus deaths over the last 24 hours and saw no sign of a resurgence as it prepared to further ease restrictive measures next week.

France sees 52 more coronavirus deaths but no sign of epidemic resurging
People stand and drink outside a cafe in Paris on May 29, 2020, ahead of the re-opening of the French capital's cafe terraces, scheduled for June 2: GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

The latest deaths, which followed low figures over the last days, brought the total toll in France in the epidemic to 28,714, the health ministry said.

The number of people with coronavirus in intensive care — which at the peak of the epidemic soared to over 7,000 — fell by another 68 to 1,361.

France will on Tuesday remove significant restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, with cafes and restaurants opening across the country.

In Paris, where there are still concerns about the virus, some restrictions will remain in place with cafes and restaurants only allowed to open their outdoor terraces.

The health ministry said in a statement that since the first easing measures were allowed on May 11, 109 new clusters of COVID-19 had been found in mainland France and its overseas territories.

But it added: “There are no signals indicating a resurgence of the epidemic.”

With testing now ramped up, it said that in the week of May 18-May 24 almost 217,000 people had been tested for COVID-19 and just over 4,000 were positive, only 1.9 percent of the total number tested.


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French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

After the seismic decision of the US Supreme Court on Friday, French MPs are calling for the right to abortion in France to be protected by the constitution.

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

Lawmakers from French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party are to propose a parliamentary bill on Saturday that would enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution. 

The move comes after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision on Friday.

“In France we guarantee and advance the rights of women. We protect them,” said Aurore Bergé – the head of Renaissance in the Assemblée nationale and one of the key sponsors of the bill. 

Another co-sponsor, Marie-Pierre Rixain tweeted: “What happens in elsewhere cannot happen in France. We must protect the right to abortion for future generations. 

In 2018 and 2019, Emmanuel Macron’s party – which back then was known as La République en Marche – refused to back bills proposed by left-wing party, La France Insoumise, to enshrine abortion rights into the constitution. 

In a Saturday interview with France Inter, Bergé suggested that the success of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National during parliamentary elections earlier this month had created a sense of newfound urgency. 

She described the far-right MPs as “fierce opponents of women’s access to abortion” and said it was important “to take no risk” in securing it. 

READ MORE France’s Macron condemns US abortion ruling

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has come out in support of the bill. 

The left-wing opposition block, NUPES, also backs it and had planned to propose an identical piece legislation of its own on Monday. 

Macron is seeking parliamentary allies to pass reforms after his formation lost its majority in legislative elections earlier this month.

The legal timeframe to terminate a pregnancy in France was extended from 12 to 14 weeks in the last legislature.

Changing the constitution requires the National Assembly and Senate to adopt the same text, then a three-fifths majority of parliament sitting in congress. The other option is a referendum.