Coronavirus cases exceed half a million in France

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FILE PHOTO: A medical worker, wearing a protective mask, works in the intensive care unit (ICU) where patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are treated at the private hospital Clinique Bouchard-ELSAN in Marseille, France, September 21 January 2020. REUTERS / Eric Gaillard

PARIS (Reuters) – The number of coronavirus cases in France has surpassed 500,000, authorities said on Friday after registering an almost record daily rise in infections.

The total number stood at 513,034, according to data from the Ministry of Health, making France a group of only 11 countries with more than half a million cases. The United States has the most with 7 million.

Earlier on Friday, protesters in Marseille called on President Emmanuel Macron’s government to reverse the order to close bars and restaurants in France’s second-largest city, the epicenter of a second wave of COVID-19 .

In the past two weeks, France has recorded nearly 150,000 new cases of COVID-19, more than the 132,000 recorded during the two-month lockdown in the spring.

It recorded 15,797 new confirmed cases on Friday, slightly less than a daily record of 16,096 set a day earlier.

On Friday, the number of people who died from the infection soared from 150 – triple the daily level last week – to 31,661.

The number of people hospitalized with the infection also continued to grow steadily last month, increasing from 97 to 6,128, as the number of people in intensive care rose from 50 to 1,098.

Both hospital numbers are still well below their highs of over 32,000 and 7,100 respectively set at the peak of the crisis in April.

Report by Geert De Clercq; edited by Diane Craft and Andrew Heavens

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