PARIS (Reuters) – New COVID-19 infections, hospitalisations and deaths all spiked further in France on Tuesday as the nation braced for additional restrictions that President Emmanuel Macron may unveil in nationally televised speech on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Jean Castex refused to rule out local lockdowns while French media reported that curfews in COVID hotspots were under consideration.
France’s five largest cities – Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse and Lille – are among nine metropolitan areas already on maximum alert, meaning bars and gyms are closed and restaurants operate under strict sanitary conditions.
French health authorities reported 12,993 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, up on Monday’s 8,505, but down from Saturday’s record of 26,896 and Sunday’s 16,101.
But the seven-day moving average of new infections, which averages out weekly data reporting irregularities, stood above the record 17,000 level for the second day running, at 17,816.
The cumulative number of cases now totals 756,472.
The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 infections rose by 117 to 32,942, versus 95 on Monday and a seven-day moving average of 82, a level not seen since May.
The number of people in hospital for the respiratory disease increased by 257, at 8,949, a post-June 25 high. That is still less than a third of the peak of 32,292 reached on April 14, but almost twice as high as the 4,530 on Aug. 29.
France imposed one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns to limit coronavirus contagion between March 17 and May 11 to avoid overwhelming the hospital system.
(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Mark Heinrich)