France reports 21,231 new coronavirus cases over 24 hours
PARIS (Reuters) – France reported 21,231 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Saturday, slightly up from 20,701 on Friday.
The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 infections rose by 199 to 81,647 – the seventh-highest death toll globally – versus 320 on Friday.
There were 10,037 new patients hospitalised with the disease over the last seven days and 1,795 new admissions to intensive care units (ICUs) over the period, the Health Ministry said.
In contrast with some of its neighbours who are struggling to control more contagious variants, France has resisted resorting to a new lockdown, hoping a national curfew in place since Dec 15, first at 8 p.m. then at 6 p.m., will be enough to contain the pandemic.
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told BFM television on Saturday the French population was at the end its patience and that a new lockdown could only be “the very last options when all others have been tried”.
Some scientists however believe President Emmanuel Macron took a gamble by deciding against a new lockdown despite the threat of highly contagious COVID-19 variants.
Arnaud Fontanet, a member of the scientific council that advises the government on COVID-19 policy, told Europe 1 radio on Saturday he feared the variant first detected in Britain could account for the majority of the cases in March.
In the Moselle region, in eastern France, where variant cases have surged, the prefecture ruled out at least for now closing the schools or implementing a local lockdown that had been requested by some local officials.
The total cumulative number of cases in France increased to 3,448,617, the sixth-highest in the world.
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