France recorded a record 10,593 new coronaviruses confirmed in the past 24 hours, data from the Ministry of Health showed Thursday, the highest one-day number in the country since the start of the pandemic.The rise follows a government decision to make COVID-19 testing free, which has led to increased testing and increased infection rates.
The previous 24-hour record in France was 10,561 new cases, recorded on September 12. The seven-day moving average of new cases – which smooths out irregularities – has peaked at nearly 8,800.
The ministry said the cumulative number of cases rose to 415,481 and the death toll rose from 50 to 31,095, the second highest number of new deaths in one day in two months.
The government’s decision to make the COVID-19 test free has resulted in long queues at city testing centers and testing has increased six-fold since the peak of the first wave of coronavirus.
About 1.2 million tests were performed last week, the health minister said. The data shows that 5.4% of the tests were positive.
Doctors say many tests are unnecessary because some people who have no symptoms or have had no contact with people with confirmed cases take multiple tests.
“Getting tested three times a week is totally delusional. Anyone can come forward and say they have symptoms, ”said Jean-Jacques Zambrowski, doctor and teacher in health policy at Paris Descartes University, on BFM TV.
French television showed scenes of chaos in test centers in major cities, with people waiting for hours and jostling each other in lines.
Hundreds of lab workers went on strike Thursday over poor working conditions as the testing system faltered under demand.
The number of people treated in hospital for COVID-19 rose 25 to 5,844, the 19th consecutive daily increase after trough of 4,530 in late August, from a high of more than 32,000 in mid-April.