PARIS (Reuters) - France’s number of patients treated in intensive care units for COVID-19 has gone up again on Tuesday, reaching a 12-week peak of 3,435 as regional officials urge for a ban on public gatherings and consider a partial weekend lockdown.
Unlike some of its neighbours, France has resisted a new national lockdown to control more contagious variants, hoping a curfew in place since Dec. 15 can contain the pandemic.
France ended its second national lockdown, which ran from Oct. 30 to Dec. 15. But one of the conditions for switch from lockdown to a national curfew was that the ICU figures remained between 2,500 and 3,000.
France reported 20,064 new COVID-19 cases, up from the previous Tuesday’s 19,590.
The seven-day moving average of cases remained above 20,000 for the third day in a row, at 20,109, the highest since 20,466 on Feb. 5.
The northern French port city of Dunkirk is urging the government to impose a ban on all public gatherings there until March 15 as a “last chance” move to halt a spike in COVID-19 infections.
Dunkirk Mayor Patrice Vergriete did not advocate a partial weekend lockdown such as in the Mediterranean city of Nice, but added he would not oppose it if the government imposed such a measure.
Health Minister Olivier Veran will head to Dunkirk, between the port of Calais and the Belgian border, on Wednesday.
The total cumulative number of cases in France rose to 3.63 million, the sixth highest in the world.
The number of people who have died from COVID-19 infections rose by 431 to 85,044 - the seventh highest death toll globally - versus a seven-day moving average of 319, a more than one-and-a half month low.
Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Aurora Ellis
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