PARIS (AFP) - French health officials on Saturday (May 9) announced another 80 deaths from the new coronavirus, the lowest figure recorded over 24 hours since early April.
The figures for those in intensive care also fell, with 38 people admitted for critical care.
The death toll in France now stands at 26,310, one of the Europe's highest.
Just four of the latest fatalities were registered in nursing homes, a spectacular fall compared with daily figures for recent weeks, against 76 who died in hospital.
France is on Monday due to begin relaxing deconfinement restrictions imposed eight weeks ago with health authorities now registering much reduced pressures on intensive care services compared to the height of the crisis.
In all, 22,614 sufferers remain hospitalised, including 265 new admissions on Friday.
A total of 95,829 people have been hospitalised since the start of the epidemic and to date 56,038 people have returned home following treatment.
"The epidemic remains active and is evolving and the virus is circulating in many zones across the country," France's health directorate-general noted as it warned that social distancing should be kept up even as deconfinement begins.
Although France is hoping the worst may be over as it rolls back some restrictions parliament on Saturday evening definitively adopted a bill extending the country's health state of emergency until July 10.
The upper house senate had earlier given its green light to the text despite some opposition fears that measures to track those infected with the virus and their contacts could infringe their privacy.