France's daily count of COVID-19 cases tops 50,000 again

France logged 50,659 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the second day seeing over 50,000 infections after 59,038 cases were reported on Wednesday.

Xinhua April 2, 2021

A carnival float depicting the coronavirus is seen in Nice, capital of coastal department of Alpes-Maritimes, southern France, on Feb. 23, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

France logged 50,659 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the second day seeing over 50,000 infections after 59,038 cases were reported on Wednesday.

The country's around 67 million inhabitants are set to enter a third lockdown at the weekend to slow a third wave of COVID-19.

The country's total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases now stood at 4,695,082, data from health authorities showed. In the last 24 hours, 308 new deaths were reported in hospitals, bringing the total tally of human loss to 69,904.

Meanwhile, a total of 28,581 COVID-19 patients remain hospitalized, up by 118 in one day, and 5,109 of them are receiving intensive treatment, up from 5,053 recorded on Wednesday.

"The third wave is here, and it's hitting us hard. ... The epidemic spreads quickly and everywhere. This acceleration is due to the virus variant detected in Britain by the end of last year," Prime Minister Jean Castex told the National Assembly on Thursday.

In its one-year battle against the coronavirus, the French government "has acted swiftly by taking several strong measures" aiming "to act neither too early nor too late," he told lawmakers when presenting the new package of restrictions to curb the virus resurgence.

From Saturday, shops not selling basic goods will have to shut down, and people must stay at home, work remotely and sign a document if they plan to travel over 10 km from their homes. Inter-city travel is banned for at least one month.

The country's nurseries, primary schools, colleges and high schools will close for three weeks starting from April 5.

French Health Minister Olivier Veran said earlier Thursday that "it takes between seven and 10 days for measures to show effect."

He said that the new restrictions "will make it possible to stop this epidemic wave which is very strong and to move towards a more serene spring and to have more freedom by May."

As of Thursday, a total of 8,806,108 citizens have got the first dose of a vaccine in France, accounting for 16.8 percent of the adult population, and 2,956,205 people, or 5.6 percent of the adult population, have got both jabs.

Starting from mid-April, people aged over 60 in France will be able to get vaccinated, from May 15 the vaccination will be open to people aged between 50 and 60 and from mid-June the age limit will be lifted.

France has so far approved the use of four vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. Globally, 268 candidate vaccines are still being developed in countries including Germany, China, Russia and Britain, according to the latest data released by the World Health Organization.

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