France recorded 38,501 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, marking the highest surge in daily infections in months, according to figures from the public health authority Wednesday.   

Overall, weekly average case numbers have straddled between 20,000-25,000. In the previous weeks on March 10 and Feb. 25, the numbers have crossed the 30,000 mark. On Oct. 22, health authorities reported 41,622 cases, and a week later, President Emmanuel Macron announced a second lockdown. 

The latest surge is of particular concern in light of French Prime Minister Jean Castex’s acknowledgement that the country has entered a third wave of infections. A total of 25,314 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 and 4,219 are in intensive care units, while 246 people were declared dead, with the cumulative death toll standing at 91,437. 

 The Hauts-de-France region and the greater Paris Ile-de-France region are particularly adversely affected with the deteriorating health situation. In Ile-de-France, the incidence rate was sharply up to 418 weekly cases per 100,000 people. 

Hospitals here are under severe pressure, grappling with high case numbers and ICU admissions, requiring medical evacuations in some cases. 

At the end of Wednesday’s Council of Ministers meeting, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal suggested that more restrictive measures will be imposed in these two departments.

Macron along with Health Minister Olivier Veran visited a hospital in the city of Poissy and held a videoconference with mayors of the Ile-de-France department to discuss the possibility of stricter measures.

The mayor of Poissy, Karl Olive, told BFMTV that in his exchange, Macron warned the situation concerning the pandemic “will hit hard until mid-April.”

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