French COVID cases spike again, ICU figure at three-month high

PARIS (Reuters) - The number of French people treated in intensive care units for COVID-19 rose for the twentieth straight day on Wednesday to a three-month high of 803, while the number of new daily cases was the third highest on record.

French health authorities reported 9,784 new infections, just below the 10,561 daily all-time high reached on Saturday, bringing the cumulative number of cases to 404,888, the second highest tally in Western Europe behind Spain.

Speaking to journalists shortly after the arrival of the Tour de France's seventeenth stage in the Alps, French President Emmanuel Macron said the virus was circulating "quicker and quicker in certain parts of the country".

"The virus is here to stay for months, it will circulate everywhere in Europe and especially in France," he said, adding that health rules must be obeyed to protect lives.

The number of people in ICUs is still almost nine times lower than the April 8 peak of 7,148, but the upward trend is putting a renewed strain on the hospital system in certain parts, such as Marseille.

The total figure for COVID-19 hospitalisations increased by 140, at 5,819, rising by more than a hundred for the third day in a row, a sequence unseen since April 14, when that number reached its record of 32,292.

The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 infections rose by 46 to 31,045. That figure is higher than the seven-day moving average of 36, which itself is at its highest since the beginning of the month.

(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Franklin Paul and Andrew Cawthorne)

09/16/2020 18:42

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