France Sees 16,000 New Coronavirus Cases in 1 Day, a New Record
The new grim record comes a day after the central government imposed new restrictions in a dozen large cities across the country.
France recorded its highest number of new coronavirus infections for a 24-hour period, surpassing the even the records from the spring lockdown at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 16,096 new coronavirus infections were registered in the country in the past 24 hours, Public Health France announced on Thursday, as cited by AFP and France24.
The new record figure, however, is put into perspective by experts pointing out that the coronavirus testing back in March and April did not catch all COVID-19 cases at the time.
The number of coronavirus patients in Paris hospitals had more than doubled in three weeks, from 150 to 330, and would probably reach 600 by month’s end, according the deputy director of the Paris hospital authority AP-HP, Francois Cremieux.
The number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care in the city has grown from 50 three weeks ago to 132 on Wednesday and likely more than 200 by next week, he said.
Paris hospital authority AP-HP said an influx of coronavirus patients was forcing it to start cancelling non-emergency surgery starting this weekend.
With a quarter of critical care beds now taken up by coronavirus patients, AP-HP will start by canceling 20% of operations to free up capacity, said Cremieux.
The record number of new infections comes a day after on Wednesday, the liberal centrist government of President Emmanuel Macron announced a new set of restrictive measures to tackle the pandemic.
These include earlier closing times for bars and restaurants in Paris and other cities, and a complete closure of the said types of public venues in the country’s second largest city, Marseille.
Presently, the southern city of Marseille has been put on “maximum alert” over the continuing coronavirus pandemic, while Paris and 10 other large cities, including Lyon and Bordeaux, are at “elevated alert”, which is the second highest level in France’s infection control system.
In the cities from the latter group, public gatherings have been limited to 10 people, and attendance of large sporting events or concerts to 1,000.
The new restrictions imposed by the central government have been lambasted by the leftist mayors of both Marseille and Paris, leading French Prime Minister Jean Castex to reply with a call for “responsibility.”
“What I don’t want is that we go back to March,” he said, referring to one of the strictest national lockdowns in Europe in which French people were required to fill out forms to leave their homes.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo of Paris, which will see its gyms and other indoor sporting facilities closed as well, said she had lodged a formal protest.
“I do not think that the closure of bars after 10:00 pm is an appropriate measure,” Hidalgo told France 3 television.
“It is hard to understand: how will it prevent the spread of the virus? How will the fact that we can no longer exercise help us, while sport is an important part of keeping us healthy with strong immune systems?” she asked.
Marseille’s left-wing mayor Michele Rubirola objected that she had not been consulted about orders to shut bars, restaurants and sports facilities, and insisted that steps taken locally were starting to slow the outbreak.
“I am angry because there was no consultation,” Rubirola, herself a doctor, told Franceinfo radio.
“Why turn the screws when our numbers have been improving for a few days now?” she asked.
(Banner image: AH-HP on Twitter)