France reports close to 50,000 new cases over 24 hours

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France on Friday reported 49,215 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, compared to 47,637 on Thursday and a record high of 52,010 on Sunday.

A new national lockdown came into effect on Friday in France in an effort to put the brakes on a COVID-19 epidemic that officials say risks spiralling out of control.

The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 rose by 256 over 24 hours to 36,565, the health ministry said. The cumulative number of cases now stands at 1,331,984.

New hospitalisations over the last seven days reached 16,258 against 15,786 on Thursday. This included 2,401 people in intensive care units against 2,278 on Thursday.

President Emmanuel Macron said late on Wednesday that France might start to ease back lockdown measures once COVID infections fell back to about 5,000 per day.

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