PARIS (Reuters) – France reported on Friday 19,814 new daily confirmed coronavirus cases, down from 21,703 on Thursday but the number remains far from the government’s target of fewer than 5,000 new daily infections.
The French health ministry also reported 281 deaths in hospitals from COVID-19, up from 277 on Thursday.
France’s cumulative total of cases in the 10-month long pandemic stands at 2,747,135 with the death toll at 67,431.
The French government said on Thursday that restaurants, theatres, cinemas and ski resorts will remain closed as the virus was still spreading too fast and hospitals were under pressure.
Prime Minister Jean Castex also said that additional nationwide restrictions could not be ruled out and that a nightly curfew would be extended until at least Jan.20.
The government this week stepped up its vaccination campaign by simplifying a cumbersome process to deliver shots more quickly after a slow start to France’s rollout compared with its European neighbours had been criticised by doctors, scientists and politicians.
(Reporting by Matthieu Protard; editing by Grant McCool)