France becomes seventh country with more than a million cases of COVID-19


PARIS (Reuters) – The number of confirmed novel coronavirus infections jumped by more than one million on Friday, making France the seventh country to reach this milestone.

FILE PHOTO: A health worker performs an olfactory test on a patient at a screening center for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Nice, France, October 21, 2020. REUTERS / Eric Gaillard

In the past 24 hours, France has recorded a record 42,032 new cases, bringing the total to 1,041,075, according to government data.

The United States has 8.4 million cases, followed by India with 7.8 million, Brazil with 5.3 million, Russia with 1.5 million, and Argentina and Spain with each just over a million.

The daily number of cases rose above 40,000 for the first time on Thursday, after crossing 20,000 on October 9 and 10,000 on September 9 as the virus spread rapidly and France began testing more after the summer.

During the March-May lockdown, the highest number of infections in a day was 7,578 on March 31, although doctors say that number was likely much higher as testing was then mostly limited to hospitals and at retirement homes.

France also recorded 298 new deaths on Friday, bringing the total to 34,508.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 jumped from 976 to 15,008, the largest increase in one day since early April. In mid-April, 32,300 people were hospitalized with the virus.

The number of people in intensive care units – which is the ultimate test of a healthcare system’s ability to cope with the virus – increased from 122 to 2,441. At the height of the outbreak in mid-April , 7,150 people were in intensive care.

President Emmanuel Macron said a curfew coming into effect for two-thirds of France on Friday evening could be tightened further if it does not yield any results.

“We will have to live with this virus at least until next summer,” he said.

Macron said as soon as new infections drop back to 3,000-5,000 cases per day, the curfew could be relaxed. This level was last seen at the end of August.

Report by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Dominique Vidalon and Grant McCool


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