France's COVID-19 death toll tops 70,000


PARIS, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- France reported 196 COVID-19 deaths in a 24-hour span on Saturday, taking the national tally to 70,142, according to the latest data released by the Public Health Agency.

Another 21,406 people tested positive for COVID-19 in one day, bringing the cumulative total of cases in the country to 2,894,347.

Over the last seven days, 9,653 COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized, including 1,402 who are on ventilator, the agency added.

A curfew starting at 6 p.m., instead of 8 p.m., came into force on Saturday, forcing shops to close two hours earlier and citizens across the country to stay at home until 6 a.m., in a move to contain the virus spread.

France kicked off its COVID-19 vaccination program on Dec. 27, 2020. As of Saturday, 413,046 people have received the first dose, mostly elderly in nursing homes and frontline caregivers and firefighters, according to the Health Ministry.

As the vaccination is underway in some countries with the already-authorized COVID-19 vaccines, 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 WHO on Jan. 12.

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