By Cindi Cook
PARIS (AA) - France saw positive trends Monday amid the second wave of the coronavirus after the lifting of confinement entered its first stage over the weekend.
A reported 4,005 infections were recorded, down from 9,784 on Sunday, an encouraging drop of more than half. Total infections since record-keeping began now stand at 2,222,488, according to the Ministry of Health.
Fatalities, however, ticked upward to 408 versus 198 on Sunday, taking the official death toll since March to 52,731.
Hospitalizations meanwhile fell to 9,256 from 9,382 the previous day. A total of 1,344 people remain in intensive care, down by 47 from the day before.
The positivity rate took a step downward as well to 10.9% on Monday, a measure that continues to drop with each passing day.
Worldwide, the death toll from COVID-19 stands at over 1.46 million since the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China in late December last year. The number of infections sits at just over 63 million, according to the latest figures from US-based Johns Hopkins University.
Saturday saw the re-opening of stores throughout France in the first stage of deconfinement, a welcome sight for eager holiday shoppers as well. Houses of worship held their first services over the weekend but religious leaders asked the government to rethink the maximum capacity of 30 people at a time, even taking it to court, with France's Council of State ordering Prime Minister Jean Castex to rework the measure within three days' time.
Confinement will completely end on Dec. 15 with the implementation of a 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. nightly curfew excluding Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Museums, theaters, movie houses, conservatories and music schools will re-open. On Jan. 20, restaurants, cafes, bars, gyms and sports halls will finally re-open.