France on Thursday recorded 178 Covid-19 deaths in 24 hours, a 0.7 percent rise from the previous day in the lowest rate of increase in four days, taking the total number of deaths to 25,987. 

The number of people in intensive care units fell by 186 or 5.9 percent to 2,961, according to the health ministry, in a total below the 3,000 threshold for the first time since March 25.

The number of people in ICU - a key measure of a health system's ability to deal with the Covid-19 epidemic - is now well below half the peak of 7,148 seen on April 8.

The number of people in hospital with coronavirus also fell again to 23,208 from 23,983, continuing an uninterrupted three-week fall and down almost 30 percent from an April 14 peak of 32,292.

The latest figures were announced hours after French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe detailed his government’s plan for easing Covid-19 confinement measures on May 11, warning that the exit from lockdown would be gradual and targeted to stem a resurgence of the viral outbreak.

The French PM unveiled an updated version of the government's colour-coded map dividing the country between red zones, for high-infection areas, and green zones, where infections have been markedly lower. The map is designed to serve as a reference for lockdown easing measures.