France's COVID-19 deaths rise by almost 1,000

FILE PHOTO: Medical staff members move a patient from a plane during a transfer operation of people suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Vannes Airport, France November 2, 2020. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s daily COVID-19 death toll spiked by 854 on Tuesday, an increase unseen since April 15, while the number of people hospitalised for the disease went up by more than a 1,000 for the fifth time in nine days.

And if the number of new infections, at 36,330, was sharply down versus Monday’s all-time high of 52,518, the seven-day moving average of additional cases, which evens out reporting irregularities, reached a record for a second day in a row, at 43,438.

France reinstated a one-month national lockdown on Friday to try and contain the resurgence of the pandemic but it generally takes two weeks for restrictive measures to have some effect.

Authorities could nonetheless reimpose a night curfew on Paris and possibly the surrounding region in the coming days amid frustration that too many people are ignoring lockdown rules.

The cumulative number of cases now totals 1,502,763, the fifth-highest in the world, and the death toll stands at 38,289, the seventh-highest globally.

The sharp rise of the daily death toll is in part due to the fact the nursing homes fatalities are taken in account twice a week, on Tuesdays and on Fridays.

The number of hospitalisations is now at 26,265, a figure multiplied by almost six since an August 29 low of 4,530 and getting closer to the April 14 peak of 32,292.

France’s first lockdown, imposed between March 17 and May 11, had been decided to prevent the hospital system from being overwhelmed.

The number of persons in intensive care units increased by 148, to 3,878, a six-month high but still some way from an April 8 peak of 7,148.

Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Andrea Ricci