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France’s daily coronavirus cases are among the top 10,000, the most since the blockade

Shoppers wearing protective masks pass the food stalls of the Edgar Quinet Market in Paris, France, on September 9.

Photographer: Cyril Marcilhacy / Bloomberg

On Saturday, France reported over 1

0,000 new coronavirus cases, the largest daily increase since the country’s lockdown ended in May, a day after Prime Minister Jean Castex warned of a “marked deterioration” in the spread of the virus.

Cases increased by 10,561 within 24 hours, according to public health agency data published online. The seven-day moving average is 8,029 and has been rising steadily for nearly four weeks.

The French government is trying to avoid another national blockade, and people will have to live with the virus and be vigilant about sticking to precautions, Castex said in a speech Friday. With cases also increasing in neighboring countries, including Germany, Spain and the UK, Western Europe has re-emerged as a global hot spot for infections.

The virus is circulating “more and more” in France and will be here for several more months, Castex said. Jean-Francois Delfraissy, head of the scientific council that advises the government of President Emmanuel Macron, said on Friday that people must “regain control” of their behavior after not adhering to the virus rules as strictly necessary during the summer.

France will reduce the self-quarantine period for people who tested positive for Covid-19 to seven days from two weeks, on the advice of the council, in an attempt to strengthen adherence to the measure. Health authorities will also hire 2,000 people to help with contact tracing, Castex announced.

Read: Macron seeks answers as French virus cases continue to soar

French coronavirus-related deaths rose from 17 to 30,893 on Saturday, the government reported. This came after health authorities on Friday reported the largest increase in daily deaths since mid-July, in part due to the inclusion of several days of data from nursing homes.

While the virus is mainly circulating among young people, many of whom show no symptoms, there is a “significant” increase in hospitalizations, according to Castex. ICUs are seeing a similar share of elderly patients as in March, the prime minister said. Hospitalizations and ICU patients due to the virus are also increasing, albeit at a slower rate than new cases, according to data from health agencies.

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