17.08.2020 Europe

France 'must avoid second lockdown' as daily Covid infections again top 3,000

© Reuters/Charles Platiau
LISTEN AUG 17, 2020
© Reuters/Charles Platiau

France has recorded a second straight day of more than 3,000 new Covid-19 cases, in a sixth day of levels not seen since lockdown. The new figures were released as the labour minister warned the country must avoid another nationwide lockdown "at any cost".

France's latest daily tally of new infections, 3,015 on Sunday, was lower than the previous day's 3,310, which marked a post-lockdown high.

The sharp rise in cases last week led the authorities in the country's two biggest cities, Paris and Marseille, to expand outdoor compulsory mask-wearing zones.

Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper that the government was determined to avoid a new nationwide lockdown that would further hobble the economy and threaten jobs.

“We must avoid a new lockdown at any cost,” she said, adding that on Tuesday she would call for face masks to become mandatory in all shared workplaces.

More and more French cities are imposing masks in outdoor public areas as the infection rate stays worryingly high. 

The number of coronavirus clusters under investigation in France has increased to 263, the public health agency said on its website.

The number of people in hospital was up slightly at 4,860, adding to a rise recorded a day earlier, while the number of intensive care patients was unchanged at 376 after increasing the previous day.

France's cumulative death toll from Covid-19 for hospitals and nursing homes had risen by one to 30,410, it said.

(with wires)

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