* Further 1,574 admitted to hospital with COVID-19 in 24 hours
* Total of 4,880 in intensive care units
* Macron: Next few days will be decisive
* French lockdown due to end Dec 1 but may be extended (Adds detail and background)
France has now recorded 1,981,827 confirmed COVID-19 cases in all, while 44,548 people have died from the virus – the seventh-highest death toll in the world.
Nevertheless, the data marked a slight decrease compared with the previous day’s COVID-19 figures in terms of new confirmed cases and deaths.
France is in the middle of its second, national lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, following its March-May shutdown.
President Emmanuel Macron’s government has set a Dec. 1 deadline for this lockdown, although the government has said it could extend it beyond that if it feels the numbers are not falling fast enough.
The government is coming under pressure from shops and businesses to loosen restrictions in time for the Christmas shopping period.
Macron has taken to Twitter to remind the public of basic health measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Our fight against the epidemic involves all of us and the next few days will be decisive,” he wrote on Saturday. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Blandine Henault; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Hugh Lawson)