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France's health minister rules out another lockdown as country records its record daily peak

France’s health minister has ruled out another lockdown a day after the country reported a record daily peak of Covid-19 cases with 8,975 more infections. 

Health Minister Olivier Veran said today France must stay vigilant as more people will be hospitalised in intensive care units in the next two weeks, reflecting a flare-up in COVID-19 infections in recent days. 

Veran however ruled out the need for a new nationwide lockdown, telling BFM television that France had other means to fight the virus, including testing.

‘I cannot envision a general lockdown. The lockdown was a lid on an overflowing cooking pot,’ he said. 

France yesterday reported 8,975 new confirmed cases, over 1,000-times higher than the previous daily peak of 7,578 on March 31.  

However, up until now, 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.

After falling steadily for months following an April 14 peak of 32,292, the number of people hospitalised was up by 28 on Friday to 4,671, rising for a sixth day in a row. 

French Health Minister Olivier Veran speaks during a press conference on the situation of the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in France at the Hotel de Matignon in Paris, France, 27 August 2020

French Health Minister Olivier Veran speaks during a press conference on the situation of the ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in France at the Hotel de Matignon in Paris, France, 27 August 2020

The death toll in France stood at 30,686 people as of Friday. 

‘We are not all on the same epidemic wave as last spring. We are on a slower trend but one that must alert us,’ Veran said.

‘This week, 55 patients on average were hospitalised in intensive care units (ICU) each day, this means we are on an average of 1,500-2,000 people hospitalised in ICU units per month in our country. 

Former President, Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni Sarkozy accompanied by their daughter Giulia Sarkozy attend the wedding of their friend, Mayor of La Baule, Franck Louvrier with Sophie Jolivet at the City Hall of La Baule today

Former President, Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni Sarkozy accompanied by their daughter Giulia Sarkozy attend the wedding of their friend, Mayor of La Baule, Franck Louvrier with Sophie Jolivet at the City Hall of La Baule today

‘This is not neutral and we must be extremely vigilant,’ he added.

Current hospitalisation numbers reflected infections contracted two weeks ago, Veran said.

‘So it is obvious that in the next 15 days there will be an increase, it will not be massive but there will nevertheless be an increase in the number of severe cases and in the number of people hospitalised and in ICU units’

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