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People's Daily Online

France reports 18,254 new COVID-19 cases

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 11:14, December 18, 2020

PARIS, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Two days after France lifted a nationwide lockdown, coronavirus indicators showed "worrying" acceleration of circulation ahead of the Christmas holiday period, Health General Director Jerome Salomon said on Thursday.

In the past 24 hours, France registered 18,254 new infections, the highest single-day increase since Nov. 20. The cumulative number of cases now stands at 2,427,316.

Since the start of the pandemic, 59,619 patients have died in the country, up by 258 from Wednesday. Hospital admissions fell by 133 to 25,182. Of them, 2,808 are receiving intensive treatment, down by 42 in the past 24 hours.

Salomon said the contagion (R0) rate was slightly above one almost across the whole country. This means that each person who caught the virus is infecting more than one person and the epidemic is slightly progressing.

"After a sharp drop in the number of cases, an upward trend has been noticed in the past few days. The year-end holiday season is under risk," Salomon told reporters.

"This rise in cases as the end-of-year holidays approach requires the utmost vigilance and respect of the curfew to avoid an epidemiological outbreak," he said.

Earlier in the day, President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for the coronavirus and went into quarantine, his office announced. The 42-year-old head of state continues to carry out his duties remotely.

First Lady Brigitte Macron, who tested negative, is also self-isolating.

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