PARIS (Reuters) – France on Wednesday reported a second daily record for new COVID-19 infections in five days, with nearly 19,000 additional cases over 24 hours, while hospitalizations for the disease hit a three-month high.
French health officials said there were 18,746 more cases, up from a previous record on Oct. 3 of 16,972 and also up sharply from Tuesday’s total of 10,489.
The total number of cases since the start of the pandemic in March now stands at 653,509, the 10th highest in the world.
French President Emmanuel Macron has signaled new restrictions to contain the pandemic, which are in addition to measures already put in place by the government, such as the closure of bars at 10 p.m. in major cities including Paris.
“In places where the disease is circulating too quickly … there will be new restrictions,” Macron said in an interview broadcast on the two main French television channels.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire will hold a press conference on COVID-19 on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. GMT.
French health authorities said more than 7,500 patients are currently being treated in hospital for COVID-19, marking a three-month high and an increase of more than 65% from the low of 4,530 reached on August 29.
Fears of overflowing the hospital system led the government to impose one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe between March 17 and May 11.
However, the number of people in intensive care units fell from 10 to 1,416 for the first time in almost three weeks, although that total is still almost four times higher than the low of 371 on July 31.
The number of people who have died in France from COVID-19 infections has increased by 80, a figure above the seven-day moving average of 71, and now stands at 32,445.