Paris [France], November 2 (ANI/Xinhua): France on Sunday recorded 46,290 new coronavirus cases in a 24-hour span, raising the country's total infections to 1.41 million since the beginning of the pandemic, data from the country's health authority showed.
The daily count was notably higher than Saturday's 35,641 cases, though it was lower than Friday's 49,215 and the country's daily record of 52,010 cases reported on Oct. 25.
A further 231 COVID-19 patients had died from the respiratory disease in the 24-hour period in France, taking the total fatalities to 37,019, Sunday's data showed.
In addition, a total of 24,031 COVID-19 patients were in the French hospitals for treatment, representing a daily increase of 995. Among them, 3,578 patients were in intensive care, a daily increase of 126.
Starting early Friday, France returns to a partial national lockdown to stem the coronavirus pandemic. People in France now can go out only for work, health emergency, essential family needs or short exercise near home. Non-essential shops, including bars, cafes, gyms and restaurants, are closed.
Meanwhile, schools and public institutions remain open while construction and industrial activities are operating to avoid an economic collapse.
The closure of "non-essential" businesses has fuelled the discontent of small stores and local officials, who contested that it was unfair as supermarkets remain open.
In order to "restore fairness", the government is likely to close "shelves of products that are not essential" in supermarkets, said Minister of the Economy, Finance and the Recovery Bruno Le Maire when interviewed by BFM TV on Sunday.
The French government expects that the one-month lockdown would help cut the daily number of COVID-19 infections to 5,000, but experts believed that the new restrictions need more time to bear fruit.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, countries including France, China, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States are racing to find a vaccine.
According to the website of the World Health Organization, as of Oct. 29, there were 201 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 45 of them were in clinical trials. (ANI/Xinhua)