PARIS  – The number of novel coronavirus cases in France rose sharply Wednesday but fatalities declined, as did hospitalizations and those in intensive care.

COVID-19 infections stood at 16,282 compared with 9,155 Tuesday. Total infections now stand at 2,170,097, according to the Ministry of Health.

Fatalities made another turn downward to 384 from 458 on Tuesday. The official death toll since March stands at 50,237.

Hospitalizations dropped to 11,420 from 12,174 the prior day. A total of 1,733 patients remain in intensive care, down by 100 from the previous day.

Importantly, the positivity rate dropped from 14% two days ago to 13%.

Worldwide, the death toll from COVID-19 stands at just over 1.4 million in 191 countries since first being detected in Wuhan, China in late December last year. The number of infections has now climbed to over 60 million, according to the latest figures from US-based Johns Hopkins University.

As statistics started to take their descent over the week, President Emmanuel Macron attempted to ease the nation’s worries through a televised address Tuesday evening. Words of compassion and strength were mixed with the announcement of a de-confinement, in three stages, starting this Saturday, Nov. 28.

For residents, the confinement will then be lifted on Dec. 15 and a curfew will be put in place starting at 9 p.m. until 7 a.m., excluding Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, Dec. 24 and 31. Restaurants, cafes, bars and sports halls will not open until Jan. 20 along with high schools for in-person classes, with universities 15 days later.​​​​​​​

The president made it clear that the lockdown will only be lifted “if the health objectives are reached.”

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