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People's Daily Online

France far from target to relax COVID-19 restrictions: health official

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:27, December 08, 2020

PARIS, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- France is far from reaching the 5,000 daily target for new COVID-19 cases set by the government as a condition for lifting a nationwide lockdown, Director General of Health Jerome Salomon said Monday.

"Recent days, the level of daily infections has not dropped and remains particularly high among people over 75 years old," Salomon said. "Despite all our collective efforts, we still face a high risk of the epidemic resurgence."

"We are far from the objective of 5,000 cases per day. It is difficult to predict the evolution (of the situation). If the current conditions continue, it will be very difficult to achieve this goal," he told reporters.

The 5,000 threshold was an early condition set by President Emmanuel Macron to let people travel freely and reopening cinemas, theaters and museums.

Macron also set a target for serious cases in intensive care units at below 3,000 to further ease rules during the year-end season.

France on Monday reported 3,411 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, sharply down from Sunday's 11,022, as fewer tests were carried on Sundays. The country's cumulative number of cases now totaled 2,295,908.

Coronavirus-related deaths now stood at 55,521 after 366 patients died in the past 24 hours. The number of hospitalizations increased by 72 to 26,365.

Asked whether the de-confinement would be delayed, Salomon said "everything will depend on the development of the situation in the coming days."

"The virus will continue to actively circulate in the coming months. The winter season will be hard...It will take time to control the epidemic while the conditions for virus spreading persist," he said, urging people to be extremely vigilant during the Christmas season.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including France, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.

According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of Nov. 26, there were 213 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 49 of them were in clinical trials.

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