France reports 22,848 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in past 24 hours

FILE PHOTO: A medical staff member assists a patient in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for COVID-19 at a hospital in Le Mans, France, January 18, 2021. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

PARIS (Reuters) - The French health ministry reported 22,848 new confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, down from 26,784 on Wednesday, but hospitalisations continued to rise.

The number of people in intensive care rose by 24 to 2,876 while the total number of patients hospitalised for the disease was up 49 over 24 hours at 25,735.

Health ministry data also showed 346 people had died from the virus in hospitals on Thursday, up from 310 on Wednesday, bringing the total death toll to 71,998, the world's seventh-highest.

France's cumulative total of cases is fast approaching 3 million, the sixth-highest in the world.

The government has said intensive care numbers need to be between 2,500 and 3,000 before it can consider easing limits on people movements.

Last Thursday, the government tightened a daily curfew to 1800 CET from 2000 CET.

France will probably need a third national lockdown if the current 6 p.m. curfew fails to rein in the spread of the novel coronavirus, a member of the French national vaccine committee told BFM TV earlier on Thursday, adding it could be limited to the most vulnerable.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Chris Reese and Bernadette Baum)

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