France counts another 26,916 COVID-19 infections amid new lockdown fears

Source: Xinhua| 2021-01-28 05:57:24|Editor: huaxia

A man runs past the Place du Trocadero near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, Jan. 13, 2021. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)

France's total cases now stand at 3,106,859, while 74,456 people have died of the respiratory illness, a single-day rise of 350.

PARIS, Jan. 27 (Xinhua) -- France reported 26,916 COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours, the country's biggest daily tally this month, health authority's data showed on Wednesday.

The country's total cases now stand at 3,106,859, while 74,456 people have died of the respiratory illness, a single-day rise of 350.

In the past 24 hours, a further 128 patients were hospitalized, pushing the total hospital admissions to 27,169. Of those hospitalized, 3,107 received intensive treatment, up from 3,081 recorded on Tuesday.

"The data shows that at this time, the curfew is not putting enough of a brake on the spread of the virus," government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said earlier on Wednesday.

On Jan. 16, a night-time ban on people's movement, in force since mid-December, was brought forward by two hours in the French territory to reduce social mixing and halt a surge in COVID-19 infections.

Giant teddy bears are seen at the closed Les Deux Magots cafe in Paris, France, Dec. 16, 2020. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)

Catering and event businesses remain closed, public gatherings are still banned, and border controls are reinforced. However, the average number of new infections has increased from 18,000 to more than 20,000 currently.

"There is a relative efficiency... but the virus continues to circulate and the variants are developing at a significant pace, that's why we are anticipating scenarios ranging from maintaining the status-quo to very strict lockdown," Attal told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

France went into a nearly two-month lockdown last spring to cope with the epidemic's first wave. It ordered the closure of schools, universities and non-essential shops. People's movement was banned, with rare exceptions.

A less stringent lockdown was imposed again at the end of October, with schools remained open.

"If we do not tighten regulations, we will find ourselves in an extremely difficult situation from mid-March," said Jean-Francois Delfraissy, head of the scientific council that advises the government on the epidemic.

People wearing masks walk on the street in Paris, France, Jan. 21, 2021. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)