France’s Covid cases up by 11,532; deaths top 59,000 as lockdown ends

France reported on Tuesday 11,532 new Covid-19 infections within 24 hours, and 790 new deaths as the government relaxed restrictive rules ahead of year-end festivities, health authorities data showed.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, France has witnessed 2,391,447 people infected with the novel coronavirus, as well as 59,072 fatalities, Xinhua news agency reported.

A total of 307 patients in hospitals had succumbed to the flu-like disease in one day, down from 371 reported on Monday, while 483 fatalities were reported in nursing homes in the same period.

Hospital admissions fell by 241 to 25,240, while 2,881 positive cases were in intensive care units, 25 fewer than Monday’s figure.

The nationwide confinement in force since late October ended on Tuesday, allowing people to move freely and travel without restriction in the daytime.

As the virus circulates faster than expected, the government introduces a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., an hour earlier than planned. The nighttime ban on people’s movement would be lifted on December 24 but not for New Year’s Eve.

Initially scheduled to reopen on December 15, cinemas, theaters, concert halls, museums, circuses, zoos and casinos have to wait three more weeks as the number of daily COVID-19 cases plateaued at a high level, fuelling fears of eventual virus resurgence, Prime Minister Jean Castex said.

“There was no other alternative, otherwise I would not have taken this decision,” Castex told local broadcaster Europe1 early Tuesday.