France reported almost 87,000 new coronavirus cases, the third daily record in a row after health authorities said the numbers were under-reported earlier in the week.
A week after the government imposed a second lockdown to attempt to contain the spread of the virus, the risk of overwhelmed hospitals is a growing concern for French leaders. France, the euro area’s second-biggest economy, has the most confirmed cases among European Union countries.
Prime Minister Jean Castex, who visited an intensive-care unit in Saint-Etienne earlier Saturday, urged French people to respect new restrictions and limit their social contacts.
“The second wave has arrived here brutally, violently,” he said on Twitter after touring a ward nearing saturation.
As of Saturday, 87.2% of intensive-care capacity was occupied by patients infected with the virus, an increase from 85.4% on Friday, authorities reported on Saturday. In mid-August, the rate touched a low of around 7% after peaking at nearly 139% in April, which led France to increase capacity.
Cumulative cases reached 1,748,705 on Saturday. Authorities said daily increases reported in the previous three days were probably minimums because of difficulties in gathering data. Detailed revisions will be published on Monday.
The trailing seven-day average for infections rose to more than 54,000. The average rate of positive tests in the last week stood at 20.6%.
Another 306 hospital patients died of illness related Covid-19 in the latest 24-hour period, increasing the toll to 40,169.
Under the lockdown restrictions, expected to be in place until 1 December, people can only leave their homes to go to work to buy essential goods, seek medical help or to exercise for one hour a day.
All non-essential shops, restaurants and bars are shut, but schools and creches remain open.
Elsewhere in Europe many nations have gone into a second phase of restrictions.