PARIS, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- France on Friday saw the coronavirus-related death toll approach 70,000, while the daily increase in COVID-19 infections was 21,271, slightly up from 21,228 registered the day before.
Since the start of the outbreak, a total of 69,949 French citizens have lost their lives because of the virus, including 21,359 in retirement homes.
In the past 24 hours, hospitals recorded 280 deaths, down from 282 a day earlier, and 356 other people died in retirement homes, whose COVID-19 figures are updated on Tuesdays and Fridays.
To date, a total of 2,872,941 people have been infected with the novel coronavirus in France. Of them, 25,043 were hospitalized, 2,740 in intensive care.
As of Saturday, the start of the countrywide curfew, declared in mid-December, 2020, will be advanced by two hours to 6 p.m. and will remain in force for at last two weeks to further curb social mixing and limit the spread of the new strains of the virus.
All travelers arriving in France from outside Europe would have to present a negative COVID-19 test less than 72 hours before boarding their flights. They would have to self-quarantine for seven days and then take a second test.
After a much-criticized slow start of the vaccination campaign, France had administered the first jab to more than 318,000 people by Friday, according to the Health Ministry.
As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in some 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, the United Kingdom and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Jan. 12.