FRANCE has recorded its highest number of daily coronavirus cases – with 16,096 people testing positive for the bug in the past 24 hours.
It comes as the government announced new restrictions in major cities to stem the worrying rise in infections.
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The number of people hospitalized with the disease also rose above 6,000 for the first time in more than two months, the health ministry confirmed.
The current increase of 16,096 new infections far exceeds the previous record of 13,498 – and brings the total number of cases in the country to 497,237.
Coronavirus deaths increased by 52, bringing the total to 31,511.
This is lower than the seven-day moving average of 59 but more than four times the daily average of 12 seen in August.
It is increasingly clear that the increase in infections is now leading to a significant increase in the number of patients suffering from serious illness, with 1,043 patients now in intensive care units – the highest number since June 8.
It comes just a day after the government announced additional restrictive measures, mainly in large cities and notably in Marseille, to reduce the transmission of the virus.
From Monday, bars, cafes and restaurants must close in France’s second city for at least two weeks before ministers review the measure.
Health Secretary Olivier Véran also announced that bars in Paris, Lille and Grenoble must also close at 10 p.m. next week, while gatherings of more than 10 people will also be banned.
In addition, local “prefects” will have the power to close bars earlier if necessary, while the number of people allowed to attend sporting and cultural events will increase from 5,000 to 1,000.
‘RACE AGAINST TIME’
Speaking on France 2 television station earlier today, Prime Minister Jean Castex issued a stern warning to the public amid the spike in cases.
He said, “It’s a race against time.
“The public must be attentive and careful. If we don’t take action, we could find ourselves in a situation similar to that of spring. ”
Cases have risen steadily since President Emmanuel Macron began easing one of Europe’s toughest lockdowns on May 11, with the public packing bars and beaches over the summer.
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Wearing a mask is already mandatory in public places in France, but there have been concerns about people flouting social distancing advice.
Travelers from France must quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the UK.
This week, the British were warned that the UK was only “a few weeks” behind France and Spain in terms of rising infection rates.