France confirms 2,281 coronavirus cases, fatalities at 48

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France now has 2,281 confirmed coronavirus infection cases -- nearly 500 more than a day before, with 48 deaths and 105 patients hospitalized in intensive care, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Wednesday evening.

"Some regions have hundreds of cases and others a few dozen. The virus is not actively spreading throughout the country. We are therefore still at stage 2 of the national epidemic alert plan," the minister said at the daily briefing, reiterating the government's priority to slow down the virus spread.

"Our action is based on two pillars, delaying (the explosions of cases) and anticipating. The more we put off, the better we anticipate and the better the absorption capacity of our health system will be," he added.

"The virus is spreading more and more actively and in more and more territories," said Jerome Salomon, the ministry's Director-General of Health at the briefing, adding that more than 1,200 tests are carried out every day across the country.

Ruling out drastic steps to contain the outbreak, France has so far banned gatherings of over 1,000 people across cities. It also closed all education institutions and restricted movement in regions where the largest clusters originated.

On Thursday evening, President Emmanuel Macron will make a televised address "on the health crisis we are currently experiencing," government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye has said.

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