French health officials reported 20,468 new cases of coronavirus infections Tuesday, a spike compared to Monday.

The number of infections since the start of the pandemic is 930,745.

There were 163 new fatalities with 33,885 deaths. And a total of 8,754 patients remain hospitalized with 1,493 in intensive care units.

As Paris and nine major cities and regions enter a fourth night of a curfew, a sense of holding tight is all-too palpable in the Republic.

Nightly closings of establishments from 9 p.m. (1900GMT) until 6 a.m. (0500GMT) imposed by the prime minister last week was a final effort to stem the spread of the rapidly escalating virus without imposing a new total nationwide lockdown — a repeat of March and April that no one would like to experience.

But France is being tested on another front with a heinous murder last Friday.

Samuel Paty, 47, a history and geography teacher at Bois-d’Aulne College in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, was beheaded by a Chechen refugee.

The suspect, Abdoullakh Anzorov, was subsequently gunned down by police after fleeing to a nearby town.

The horrific incident sent shock waves through the nation and launched police crackdowns immediately afterward.

Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin has since initiated 34 police operations and 80 investigations, along with dozens of detentions.

His efforts have included raiding homes of those related to or suspected of aiding and abetting Anzorov.

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