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France reports highest number of new COVID-19 cases in a day

epa08398802 The golden statues of the Trocadero esplanade, in front of the Eiffel Tower, are covered with protective face masks in Paris, France, 03 May 2020. French government plans to decreases containment measures and traffic restrictions taken to stop the widespread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus from 11 May and to make mandatory to wear a protective mask on public transportation. EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON

PARIS, Sept 17 (Reuters) - France registered a record 10,593 new confirmed coronavirus in the past 24 hours, health ministry data showed on Thursday, the country's highest single-day count since the pandemic began.

By Geert De Clercq

The rise followed a government decision to make COVID-19 tests free, leading to a surge in testing and an increase in infection rates.

The previous high in 24 hours in France was 10,561 new cases, recorded on Sept. 12. The seven-day moving average of new cases – which smoothes out irregularities – rose to a high of nearly 8,800.

The ministry reported that the cumulative number of cases had risen to 415,481, and the death toll had risen by 50 to 31,095, the second-highest number of new deaths in a day in two months.

The government’s decision to make COVID-19 testing free has resulted in long queues at testing centres in cities and testing has increased six-fold since the peak of the first coronavirus wave.

About 1.2 million tests were carried out last week, the health minister said. Data show 5.4% of tests were positive.

Doctors say many tests are pointless as some people who have no symptoms, or have had no contact with people with confirmed cases, take multiple tests.

“To get tested three times a week is totally delirious. Anyone can show up and say they have symptoms,” Jean-Jacques Zambrowski, a doctor and health policy lecturer at Paris Descartes university, said on BFM TV.

French television showed scenes of chaos at testing centres in big cities, with people waiting hours and jostling in queues.

Hundreds of workers at laboratories went on strike on Thursday over poor working conditions as the testing system buckles under the demand.

The number of people being treated in hospital for COVID-19 rose by 25 to 5,844, the 19th consecutive daily increase after a low of 4,530 at the end of August, down from a mid-April high of over 32,000.

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq, Editing by Chris Reese and Timothy Heritage)

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Neal de Klerk says:

    Respectfully, Mr Geert and DM Editors, the first sentence of this article is totally misleading, i.e. “The rise followed a government decision to make COVID-19 tests free, leading to a surge in testing and an increase in infection rates.” How can an increase in testing lead to an increase in “infection rates”? It simply can’t. It can only lead to an increase in “cases” or “case rates”. Perhaps that is what was meant, but as stated it implies that Covid-19 spreads faster the more you test, which is obviously not true.

  • KEITH SAFFY says:

    The severity of the second wave is very different to that of the first wave. The European and USA experience is that deaths hardly rise in the second wave. Please report that as well and consider your headlines otherwise it comes across as fear mongering.

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