Paris: France reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the largest daily increase since the end of the country’s lockdown in May, a day after Prime Minister Jean Castex warned of a “clear worsening” in the spread of the virus.
Cases rose by 10,561 over 24 hours, according to data from the public health agency published online. The seven-day rolling average stands at 8,029 and has been steadily climbing for almost four weeks.
The French government is trying to avoid another national lockdown, and people will have to live with the virus and be vigilant about sticking to precautions, Castex said in a speech Friday. With cases also spiking in neighbouring countries, including Germany, Spain and the UK, Western Europe has reemerged as a global hotspot for infections.
The virus is circulating “more and more” in France, and will be here for several months yet, Castex said. Jean-Francois Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council advising President Emmanuel Macron’s government, said Friday that people need to “regain control” of their behaviour again after not adhering to virus rules as strictly as necessary over the summer.
France will reduce the period of self-quarantine for people testing positive for COVID-19 to seven days from two weeks, on the advice of the council, in a bid to bolster adherence to the measure. Health authorities will also hire 2,000 people to help with contact tracing, Castex announced.
French deaths linked to the coronavirus rose by 17 to 30,893 on Saturday, the government reported. That’s after health authorities on Friday reported the biggest increase in daily deaths since mid-July, partly due to the inclusion of several days of data from retirement homes.
While the virus is mainly circulating among young people, many of whom don’t show symptoms, there is a “significant” increase in hospitalisations, according to Castex. Intensive care units are seeing a similar share of elderly patients as in March, the prime minister said. Hospitalisations and patients in intensive care because of the virus are also rising, though at a slower pace than new cases, according to health-agency data.