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World News

France's COVID-19 infections again hit fresh post-lockdown peak

PARIS (Reuters) - France registered 3,776 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, marking another post-lockdown peak and bringing the total to 225,043, but President Emmanuel Macron again ruled out imposing another national lockdown.

FILE PHOTO: A medical worker, wearing protective suit and face mask, administers a nasal swab to a patient at a drive-through testing site for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) near the hospital in Laval, in Mayenne department, France, July 15, 2020. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

“All the indicators keep going up and the transmission of the virus is getting stronger among all ages groups affected, young adults in particular”, the health ministry said in a statement.

It said the virus was especially active in and around Paris and Marseille, France’s two biggest cities.

Some medical experts are worried about the impact of Paris St Germain fans’ wild, mask-less celebrations on the Champs Elysees avenue in central Paris after their soccer club reached the Champions League final on Tuesday.

Paris municipal officials are also concerned about large gatherings of fans expected on Sunday, when Paris St Germain will play the final either against Olympique Lyonnais, another French club, or Germany’s Bayern Munich.

Despite the surge in infections, Macron told Paris Match magazine in an interview that “local strategies” were preferable to another national lockdown, which he said would cause considerable “collateral damage”.

The seven-day moving average of the case tally, which smooths out daily reporting irregularities, is now at 2,621, above the 2,500 threshold for the first time since April 19, when France was enforcing one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns.

The number of people in hospital fell again by 17 to 4,806 and those in intensive care slipped by six to 374, reflecting the preponderance of younger people among the new cases who are more likely to be asymptomatic or not to fall seriously ill.

Both numbers had been on an uninterrupted downward trend since early April, but that trend has slowed in the past two weeks.

The number of deaths increased by 17 to 30,468, following an increase of 22 on Tuesday and of 19 on Monday.

Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Gareth Jones

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