More than 10,000 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in France in a single day – the country’s highest daily number since the pandemic began.
A total of 10,561 new COVID-19 infections were recorded on Saturday, the first time they have topped 10,000 over 24 hours in France.
The total surpasses the previous record of 9,843 new cases reported on Thursday.
‘Yellow vest’ protesters gathered in Paris on Saturday
The number of coronavirus deaths in hospitals and nursing homes in France rose by 17 over 24 hours, bringing the total to 30,910.
The latest figures came on the day French police fired tear gas and arrested more than 250 people in Paris as they tussled with “yellow vest” protesters trying to revive an anti-government movement.
France has been grappling with a resurgence in coronavirus cases, and on Friday French Prime Minister Jean Castex outlined plans to speed up testing and toughen measures in certain cities.
The French government is seeking to avoid a repeat of a nationwide lockdown.
Over the past week there have been 2,432 hospital admissions for COVID-19 in France, including 417 patients taken to intensive care units, the country’s health ministry said.
People wearing face masks shop at a market in Rennes, western France on Saturday
Mr Castex, who himself came out of self-isolation on Saturday after testing negative for COVID-19 following contact with someone with the virus, has warned that the situation is “obviously worsening”.
He announced Friday that the self-isolation time for coronavirus has been reduced from 14 days to seven days in France in order to better ensure the enforcement of the measure.
French health authorities argued this week that the 14-day quarantine was not well respected by many in the country who considered it too long.
Mr Castex said specific testing centres would be set up to provide results in priority to medical staff or people who have symptoms or have been in close contact with someone tested positive.
People around France have reported long queues to get tested and several days to get the results.
Earlier this week, doctors in Marseille revealed the 70 intensive care unit beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients in the city and the surrounding Bouches-du-Rhone region were all occupied by Tuesday.
France is on the UK’s travel quarantine list, meaning anyone coming into the country needs to isolate at home for 14 days.