France’s daily coronavirus cases have topped 10,000 for the first time and the Prime Minister has ruled out a second lockdown.
The country reported 10,561 new infections on Saturday – France’s highest daily number since launching wide-scale testing.
The milestone came a day after Prime Minister Jean Castex, who recently had to isolate after testing negative twice for the virus, declined to announce any new major restrictions despite a ‘clear worsening’ in the country’s outbreak.
‘We have to succeed in living with this virus, without returning to the idea of a generalised lockdown,’ Castex said.
France’s daily coronavirus cases have topped 10,000 for the first time and the Prime Minister has ruled out a second lockdown
Fears were briefly raised after the prime minister spent part of last weekend with the boss of the Tour de France Christian Prudhomme, who tested positive for Covid-19.
It comes after the country announced on Thursday it will pay parents to stay home if schools are forced to lock down due to a surge in coronavirus cases.
Paris revealed yesterday it will pay 84 per cent of the wages of one parent in each household with a child under the age of 16 if their school is forced to close down due to the virus.
The announcement comes after infection clusters emerged across the country since schools were reopened on September 1. The clusters have already lead to the closure of 34 schools and the cancellation of 500 separate classes.
The milestone came a day after Prime Minister Jean Castex (pictured), who recently had to isolate after testing negative twice for the virus, declined to announce any new major restrictions despite a ‘clear worsening’ in the country’s outbreak
Payments will be backdated to 1 September, The Times reports, adding that the French government has also announced an extension of their furlough scheme for struggling businesses.
The series of measures come after French health authorities reported 9,843 new confirmed coronavirus cases, beating by almost 900 the previous record of 8,975, set six days earlier.
After reaching a low of 4,530 on 28 August, the number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 is again trending upward.
However, hospitalisations for the disease are still more than six times below the April 14 peak of 32,292 and the number of patients in ICUs is far below the April 8 record of 7,148.
Doctors and nurses wearing protective gear take care of a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease at the resuscitation intensive care unit (ICU) of the Hopital Europeen hospital in Marseille, France
The rise in infections has mainly affected young people who are less likely to develop complications from the virus. There has so far been less strain on French hospitals, which were almost overwhelmed at the end of March.
Hospital figures are still very far from peaks reached in April but create renewed strain on the hospital system that might lead authorities to take action.
France’s decision to put the country under one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns between March 17 and May 11 was dictated by the need to keep the hospital system from being overwhelmed.
France’s chief scientific advisor on the virus Dr Jean-Francois Delfraissy said the low hospitalisation and death rates were giving the French people a false sense of security.
‘France is now at a worrying level which is not far behind Spain, with a lag of maybe two weeks, and much more severe than that of Italy,’ Dr Delfraissy said.
According to The Times, Macron added that lockdown measures would be implemented on a regional basis, not national.
France has the seventh-highest COVID-19 death toll in the world.
Another country to hit a daily milestone on Saturday was the United Arab Emirates, which recorded more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases on Saturday for the first time.
In Spain, which this week became the first EU country to pass half a million infections, an infection was detected among Princess Leonor’s classmates.
The 14-year-old heiress to the Spanish throne, who only returned to school in Madrid on Wednesday, will now have to observe a two-week quarantine.
The uncle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, businessman Mohamad Makhlouf, died from Covid-19 on Saturday, two close sources told AFP.
And in Latin America, which this week passed the milestone of eight million virus cases, worst-hit Brazil charted more than 131,000 deaths from Covid-19 as of Saturday, the second-highest in the world behind the US.
Latvia meanwhile reinstated a compulsory 14-day quarantine for arrivals from neighbouring Estonia due to an upsurge in cases there.