Paris [France], January 31 (ANI/Xinhua): The number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 in France increased by 24,392, while another 242 people have died in the past 24 hours, according to figures released by health authorities on Saturday.
The daily tally of new cases, up from 22,858 on Friday, has brought the national tally to 3,177,879, the second highest number in Europe after Britain.
Since France reported its first COVID-19 cases in late January 2020, a total of 75,862 people have succumbed to the respiratory disease.
As of Saturday, 27,282 patients were hospitalized, including 3,113 in intensive care units, down by 26 and 17 respectively.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Friday ruled out a new lockdown. Instead, he announced a raft of tougher restrictions.
Starting from Sunday, borders to non-European Union countries will be closed except for essential travel. Meanwhile, all visitors from other EU nations will have to show a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test except for cross-border workers.
Non-food shopping malls with a surface area of more than 20,000 square meters will shut down, police controls will be intensified against people breaking the curfew and testing will be reinforced.
As to France's vaccination roll-out, the health ministry said in a statement that a total of 1,447,155 people had been vaccinated so far, including 24,201 who received their second jab.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in France and some other countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.
Meanwhile, 236 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 63 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Jan. 26. (ANI/Xinhua)