France announces new COVID-19 restrictions as new daily cases at all-time high, hospitalisations up

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French President Emmanuel Macron says there will be new restrictions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, as the country reported a new all-time high, at almost 19,000, of new infections of the disease.

“In places where the disease is circulating too quickly (…) there will be new restrictions”, Macron said during an interviewed aired on France’s two main television channels.

French Health Minister Olivier Véran, along with Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, will hold a Covid-19 press conference on Thursday at 1600 GMT.

France reported on Wednesday a second daily record of new COVID-19 infections in five days, with almost 19,000 additional cases over 24 hours, while hospitalisations for the disease stood at a three-month high.

French health authorities said there were 18,746 extra cases, versus a previous record on Oct. 3 of 16,972 and also sharply up from Tuesday’s tally of 10,489.

The total number of cases since the start of the pandemic in March now stands at 653,509, the world’s 10th highest.

French health authorities said more than 7,500 patients were currently being treated in hospital for COVID-19, marking a three-month high and an increase of more than 65% from a low point of 4,530 reached on Aug. 29.

Fears of the hospital system being overwhelmed led the government to impose one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns between March 17 and May 11.

However, the number of people in intensive care units has fallen, by 10 to 1,416, for the first time in almost three weeks, though that total is still almost four times higher than a July 31 low of 371.

The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 infections rose by 80, a figure higher than the seven-day moving average of 71, and now stands at 32,445.

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