French public health authorities reported a spike in coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours Tuesday with 11,395 new infections after experiencing a lower number of cases since the Christmas holiday.  

The daily death toll also rose to 969 and 413 more people were hospitalized.

The total number of cumulative cases now stands at 2,574,041, with the country having the fifth-highest number of infections worldwide.

On Dec. 24 and 25, health authorities recorded 21,634 and 20,262 positive cases, respectively. On Saturday, however, infections fell to 3,093. They rose to 8,822 on Sunday and then dropped to 2,960 on Monday. The rise and fall in the detection of cases could be due to the closure of testing facilities during the holiday period, local media reports suggested.

In view of the latest rise in cases, the health council meeting chaired by President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday decided to tighten restrictions in high-risk regions with a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. from Jan. 2.

These restrictions will be enforced in the 20 departments of the Grand Est, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Bourgogne-Franche-Comte regions, Health Minister Olivier Veran announced on Twitter. The official list of departments under curfew will be announced on Jan 1.

In an interview with France 2 TV before the meeting, Veran said “France is faced with an unstable epidemic situation, a plateau that is around 15,000 contaminations per day. The epidemic is not controlled and the pressure on our health system remains too great.”

The new measures will be subject to the situation on New Year’s Eve, during which cases are expected to rise again. According to the current plan, schools are scheduled to reopen on Jan. 4, cultural places by Jan. 7 and bars, cafes and restaurants on Jan. 20.

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