PARIS, Sept 17 (NNN-AGENCIES) — The number of French people treated in intensive care units for covid-19 rose for the 20th straight day to a three-month high of 803, while the number of new daily cases was the third highest on record.
French health authorities reported 9,784 new infections, just below the 10,561 daily all-time high reached on Saturday, bringing the cumulative number of cases to 404,888, the second highest tally in Western Europe behind Spain.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the arrival of the Tour de France’s seventeenth stage in the Alps, French President Emmanuel Macron said the virus was circulating “quicker and quicker in certain parts of the country”.
“The virus is here to stay for months, it will circulate everywhere in Europe and especially in France,” he said, adding that health rules must be obeyed to protect lives.
The number of people in ICUs is still almost nine times lower than the Apr 8 peak of 7,148, but the upward trend is putting a renewed strain on the hospital system in certain parts, such as Marseille.
The total figure for COVID-19 hospitalisations increased by 140, at 5,819, rising by more than a hundred for the third day in a row, a sequence unseen since Apr 14, when that number reached its record of 32,292.
The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 infections rose by 46 to 31,045. That figure is higher than the seven-day moving average of 36, which itself is at its highest since the beginning of the month.
Meanwhile, more French schools have closed after multiple students tested positive for COVID-19 while a further 2,100 individual classes have also been called off, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said.
Early last week, just 28 schools were closed shortly after the school year resumed but that number has climbed to 81 over the past week.
“We have around 1,200 new COVID cases among students compared with last week,” Blanquer told LCI television. “We shut down a class as soon as there are three cases.”
He noted that the closures represent just a small fraction of the 60,000 schools across France, calling the beginning of the new school year “the best possible given the health crisis”.
Late Tuesday, the University of Montpellier in southern France said it had suspended classes at its medical school after about 60 students tested positive after a party.
The University of Rennes in western France also suspended classes for second- and third-year medical students this week after 83 tested positive. — NNN-AGENCIES