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France tallies record daily COVID infections as cases surge in Europe

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France registered a record 52,010 new confirmed coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, following a record 45,422 on Saturday, the health ministry said in a statement on Sunday, as a second wave of cases surges through Europe.

The new cases took the total to 1,138,507, with France now ahead of Argentina and Spain to register the world’s fifth highest number of cases after the United States, India, Brazil and Russia.

In the past three days, France has registered over 139,000 new cases, which is more than the 132,000 cases registered during the two-month lockdown from mid-March to mid-May.

The health ministry said that 116 people had died from coronavirus infection over the past 24 hours, compared to from 137 on Saturday, taking the total to 34,761.

Believers wearing protective face masks and holding social distance attend a mass celebrated in the open, at the Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic, 25 October 2020. The Czech Republic recorded a rise in the COVID-19 disease, an increase in newly detected infections around 15,000 in last days, resulting in the government to impose a series of new further restrictive measures from 22 October. EPA-EFE/MARTIN DIVISEK

The number of people who tested positive during massive testing under way in the whole country increased to 17%, from 16% on Saturday and around 7% a month ago.

Like many other European countries, including neighbours Britain, Spain and Italy, France has seen a second wave hit in recent weeks.

The head of the Paris region health authority, Aurelien Rousseau, said on BFM television that the circulation of the virus in the region was accelerating and that the situation in French hospitals was becoming more and more tense.

The health ministry reported no hospital data on Sunday, but on Saturday the number of people in hospital with coronavirus rose by 652 to 15,660 and the number of people in intensive care by 59 to 2,500, compared to a peak of 7,148 during the lockdown in the spring.

Britain recorded 19,790 new COVID-19 infections and 151 deaths on Sunday, official data showed.

New cases dipped from Saturday’s 23,012, and the number of deaths within 28 days of a positive test was also down slightly from 174 the previous day.

Protesters against the measures implemented to stop the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in Naples, Italy, 25 October 2020. Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tightened nationwide Coronavirus restrictions Sunday after the country registered a record number of new cases. EPA-EFE/CESARE ABBATE

Italy on Sunday ordered bars and restaurants to close by 6 p.m. and shut public gyms, cinemas and swimming pools to try to halt a rapid resurgence in the coronavirus that has pushed daily infection rates to new records.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the measures were aimed at protecting both public health and the economy and should bring the rising curve of the epidemic under control in the next few weeks to allow a “serene” Christmas.

On Sunday, authorities reported a new record daily total of 21,273 infections, as well as 128 deaths.

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