French health authorities reported 7,017 new confirmed coronavirus cases on Wednesday, sharply up from Tuesday’s 4,982 figure, and the third time since the beginning of the outbreak that the daily tally has stood above 7,000. The number of patients hospitalised and rushed to intensive care is also on the rise.
“The virus keeps spreading in the country,” French health authorities said in a statement, adding roughly a fifth of France’s departments – or administrative districts – were affected by an “active circulation of the disease”.
The seven-day moving average of new infections, which smoothes out reporting irregularities, stood at a record of 5,634 and remained above the 5,000 thresholds for the fourth day in a row, versus a low of 272 on May 27 – two weeks after authorities lifted a two-month-long lockdown.
The cumulative number of cases now totals 293,024.
The number of people hospitalised for Covid-19, while still well below its April 14 peak of 32,292, has gone up by 28 on Wednesday, totalling 4,632. It has been on the rise for the fifth day in a row, a sequence unseen since April.
Authorities also recorded a rise on the number of patients in intensive care: 22 new patients, reaching a total of 446 people, far below the April 8 record of 7,148 but rising for the sixth consecutive day.
The number of people in France who have died from Covid-19 infections increased by 25 to 30,686.
Meanwhile, some 12.4 million students in France returned to school on Tuesday, bracing for a year already clouded by Covid-19 and the restrictions imposed to avoid a resurgence of the disease.
The government has taken measures so that the year can begin “as normally as possible”, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said on Monday.
“School is mandatory,” Blanquer emphasised, adding that he considered the health protocol adopted by his ministry “simple and clear”, and reassuring parents and students that “in principle”, it was not expected to change much.
The protocol “is among the strictest in Europe, which allows us to begin the year as normally as possible”, he said during a visit to Mayenne, in western France.