By Cindi Cook

PARIS

France reported 16,101 new cases of the novel coronavirus Sunday, down from a record number the previous day, according to the Health Ministry.

Although not officially announced, the country is clearly experiencing a second wave of infections.

Cases rose sharply to 26,896 on Saturday from 20,339 on Friday.

After the biggest single-day jump since the end of the lockdown on Friday followed by an even higher number on Saturday, Sunday’s dip was welcome relief.

Since the start of record-keeping for the disease, 734,974 cases of infection have been logged.

There were 46 additional fatalities Sunday, with the death toll currently standing at 32,730.

Hospitalizations total 5,084 with 910 patients in intensive care.

With cases rising and the virus still in active circulation, the country’s health officials have not let up on their vigilance.

“The health situation continues to deteriorate in France,” Health Minister Olivier Veran said at a televised press conference Thursday, wherein he imposed new restrictions.

Veran placed four more cities in the maximum alert zone. Lille, Grenoble, Saint-Etienne and Lyon were added to the municipalities considered most at risk for the virus.

To stem the spread of the virus in social gatherings, officials of the Ile-de-France region that encompasses Paris last week announced the closing of cafes and bars for two weeks as well as for all restaurants to close by 10:00 p.m. The virus has risen in the region along with Aix-Marseille and the overseas territory of Guadeloupe, which had seen the same restrictions put in place the week prior.

Some 70 departments have been identified throughout France as being in a vulnerable position while the number of active clusters of infection rose on Sunday to 1,489 from 1,446 the day before.

Worldwide, the number of infections totals just over 37 million and fatalities at over 1.07 million in 188 countries and regions, according to the latest figures from US-based Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 26 million people have recovered.

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