PARIS: French health authorities reported 23,770 new coronavirus infections over the previous 24 hours on Thursday, down from 26,916 on Wednesday but up from 22,848 last Thursday (Jan 28), adding to fears of a third national lockdown.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran said earlier new variants of the coronavirus were circulating more widely every week and that the tighter curfew put in place almost two weeks ago had not managed to curb the spread of the virus.
France's cumulative total of cases now stands at 3,130,629 - the sixth-highest in the world.
Its COVID-19 death toll rose by 344 to 74,800, the world's seventh-highest, after an increase of 350 on Wednesday. The seven-day moving average of new fatalities, which averages out daily data-reporting irregularities, stands at 400.