PARIS: The number of new coronavirus cases in France compared to a week earlier rose for the third day in a row, with the health ministry reporting 22,371 new cases on Saturday (Feb 20), compared to 21,231 last Saturday.
The seven-day moving average of new cases increased further by 163 to 19,217, after falling nearly continuously in the first half of the month.
Health Minister Olivier Veran said earlier on Saturday that the trend in the data over the past few days is not good and France would decide on tightening the curfew or locking down partially in regions where the virus is spreading the quickest, notably on the Mediterranean coast around Nice.
Nice now has more than 700 new cases per week per 100,000 residents, according to the Covidtracker.fr website.
The north and northeast of France as well as central and eastern Paris are also showing high infection rates, with about 250 new cases per week per 100,000 residents in Paris.
By comparison, the cities of Nantes and Montpellier only reported about 100 new cases per week per 100,000 people and the city of Brest on the western tip of Brittany just 26.
The health ministry also reported 183 new coronavirus deaths in hospitals on Saturday, compared to 571 on Friday, when the tally included several days of death data in retirement homes.