France sees slowdown in new COVID-19 cases, rise in hospitalization

A man wearing a face mask walks on the street in Paris, France, Nov. 25, 2020. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)

France is expected to enter the second phase of easing lockdown rules on Tuesday.

However, Prime Minister admitted that the target of 5,000 new cases of infection per day, set by President to further relax the lockdown, would be out of reach, forcing authorities to maintain some restrictions.

PARIS, Dec. 13 (Xinhua) — Another 11,533 people in France tested positive for COVID-19 in a 24-hour span, the lowest daily tally this week, while more patients were admitted to hospital, ending a week-long decline in coronavirus-related hospitalization, official data showed on Sunday.

The number of daily new infections fell by 2,414 compared to Saturday. France’s cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases now stands at nearly 2.38 million.

Another 150 people died from the disease in the 24 hours, bringing the total fatalities in France to 57,911 since the beginning of the pandemic, official data showed.

France sees slowdown in new COVID-19 cases, rise in hospitalization

A woman wearing a mask walks on the Pont Alexandre III bridge in Paris, France, Dec. 9, 2020. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)

After reporting a downtrend since mid-November, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital increased by 259 to 25,239, including 2,871 serious cases that need life support, a single-day rise of 10.

On Tuesday (Dec. 15), France is expected to enter the second phase of easing lockdown rules. A curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. will replace the country-wide confinement introduced in late October.

Cinemas, theaters and museums — initially scheduled to reopen on Dec. 15 — will wait three more weeks to be able to receive the public, as the number of COVID-19 daily infections is not falling as fast as the government had expected, French Prime Minister had announced on Thursday.

Castex admitted that the target of 5,000 new cases of infection per day, set by President to further relax the lockdown, would be out of reach, forcing authorities to maintain some restrictions.

France sees slowdown in new COVID-19 cases, rise in hospitalization

People wearing face masks walk past the Trocadero Place near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, Oct. 23, 2020. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)

“We will move to a new stage (on Tuesday) but the rules will be stricter than what we had initially envisaged,” he told a press conference on Thursday.

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 Dec. 8, there were 214 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 52 of them were in clinical trials.

France sees slowdown in new COVID-19 cases, rise in hospitalization

A woman wearing a face mask walks past Christmas trees in Paris, France, Nov. 25, 2020. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)

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