PARIS (Reuters) – France on Wednesday reported 35,879 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total to 1.86 million, overtaking Russia and making France the most affected country in the European region.
With a total of 1,865,538 confirmed cases, France is the fourth most affected country in the world for new coronavirus infections, according to a Reuters tally.
Italy surpassed the one million infection mark on Wednesday, bouncing Mexico to become one of the 10 worst-affected countries, while the UK surpassed 50,000 deaths in the eight-month pandemic.
France is almost two weeks into a new nationwide lockdown here and the Health Ministry’s new case count was up from the 22,180 reported on Tuesday, but remained well below the high of 86,852 reported on Saturday. In the past week, infections have reached over 58,000 and 60,000.
New infections in the first three days of this week totaled just over 78,000, compared to more than 129,000 in the first three days of last week.
New hospital admissions for COVID-19, 441 over the past 24 hours, have also remained well below the more than 1,000 per day during the first half of last week. The number of people entering intensive care fell to 53, the lowest level since mid-October.
France also reported 328 new deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, up from 1,220 on Tuesday, which included a multi-day batch of 754 deaths in retirement homes.
The seven-day moving average of daily deaths in France, at 552, was above 500 for the third day in a row, a level last seen in the first lockdown in the second half of April.
The new deaths brought France’s death toll to 42,535. The country alone accounts for nearly 14% of all COVID cases in the European region.
More than 300,000 people have died from COVID-19 across Europe, according to a Reuters tally on Tuesday. With just 10% of the world’s population, Europe is responsible for almost a quarter of the 1.2 million deaths worldwide, and even its well-equipped hospitals are feeling the pressure.
The health authority in the Paris region said last week that 92% of its intensive care capacity was occupied.