France surpasses 1 million confirmed virus cases in peak


PARIS – French health authorities say France has recorded more than one million confirmed cases of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, becoming the second country in Western Europe after Spain to reach this number of known infections .

The national health agency released new figures showing that tests had confirmed at least 1,041,075 cases in France this year, including 42,032 new cases reported in the past 24 hours.

Experts say the actual number of infections is likely much higher than those governments around the world are reporting due to lack of testing early in the pandemic, asymptomatic cases and other issues.

Like other countries in Europe, France has seen its daily number of cases increase sharply in recent weeks as the virus rebounded in Europe. COVID-19 patients now occupy more than 42% of ICU beds nationally and 64% in the Paris region.

More than 11,000 new patients with COVID-19 were hospitalized last week, including 1,714 in intensive care, according to the national health agency.

Speaking earlier Friday after visiting a hospital in Pontoise, a suburb north of Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron said “the epidemic is accelerating very sharply”.

The French government has extended a nighttime curfew it imposed last week in eight urban areas in France to include 38 other regions and Polynesia. The 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfews and other public health measures will last “at least six weeks,” Macron said.

The extension means 46 million of the 67 million French people will be subject to curfews that prohibit them from going outside during those hours except for limited reasons, such as walking a dog, commuting to and from work and picking up a train or flight.

France has reported more than 34,000 deaths linked to the virus, one of the highest toll in Europe.


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