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The French Health Ministry reported 13,072 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday – just short of the daily record of 13,498 positive infections set on Saturday. Health Minister Olivier Veran has admitted the epidemiological situation “continues to deteriorate” warned the public the “virus remains as dangerous as ever”.
Further signs of continued second spike have emerged this afternoon after Health officials confirmed the number of patients admitted into an Intensive Care Units (ICU) has surged to its highest level in more than three months.
More than 1,000 patients are currently being treated in ICU for the first time since June 8.
At a press briefing, Mr Veran said general hospital admissions for COVID-19 has also increased with 600 people admitted each day.
He said: “The number of patients in intensive care has started to increase again.
“It is now 19 percent with nearly 6,000 hospitalised patients and 600 admissions per day to the hospital.”
The Health chief added the percentage of people testing positive for the virus is likely to increase from 95 cases per 100,000 people, to 100 cases per 100,000.
In a bid to curb the spread of the virus, the health minister unveiled a map of coronavirus “danger zones” around the country.
Mr Veran has given local authorities just days to tighten measures to stop the virus or risk having a state of emergency declared.
Marseille, the second-largest city, and the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe are currently the only two areas put on the “maximum” alert level.
In those regions bars and restaurants will be closed for two weeks from Saturday.
Mr Veran said: “Should the sanitary situation worsen further in those areas, then a state of health emergency would be put in place.”
Paris and six other cities were declared “reinforced danger zones”.
From Monday bars and restaurants in those areas must close by 10pm and gatherings of more than 10 people is banned.
Attendance at major events will now be limited to 1,000 people from 5,000.
The restrictions has divided officials in France, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has opposed curfews on bars and cafes in the capital, arguing that would be devastating economically for the sector.
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Anne Souyris, the Paris councillor in charge of health issues, called on officials to clampdown further on enforcing current measures.
She said: “Saying we’ll restrict yet again the possibility of having even the smallest social life, that’s becoming problematic.
“What we can do is being stricter, more rigorous in how we apply existing restrictions.”
(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)
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