Europe Coronavirus Updates: UK sees highest daily deaths since May 5; France registers 16,282 new cases, 381 deaths

The following are the latest developments of the COVID-19 pandemic in European countries.

LONDON — The coronavirus-related deaths in Britain rose by 696 to 56,533, marking the highest daily death number since May 5, according to official figures released Wednesday.

Another 18,213 people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 1,557,007, the data showed.

The figures came as some scientists warned that the British government’s plan to relax coronavirus restrictions over Christmas risk “throwing fuel on the COVID fire”.

PARIS — France on Wednesday registered 16,282 new COVID-19 cases and 381 deaths in a 24-hour span, while pressure on the country’s health services continued to ease, health authorities said.

Since the start of the pandemic, 2,170,097 people have been infected with the virus, and 50,618 of them have died. France now ranks fourth in the number of total COVID-19 cases after the United States, India and Brazil.

As of Wednesday, 29,972 COVID-19 patients had been hospitalized (down 650 from Tuesday), confirming a downward trend reported since mid-November. Of the hospitalized, 4,148 are in intensive care, down 141 in the past 24 hours.

On Tuesday evening, President Emmanuel Macron said that the peak of the pandemic’s second wave had passed, allowing a gradual return to normalcy starting on Nov. 28. Non-essential shops will reopen. People will be allowed to spend a longer time outdoors, and indoor in-person worship in churches will be limited to 30 people.

Latest figures from Sweden’s Public Health Agency showed that 55 new COVID-19-related deaths were reported between Tuesday and Wednesday, meaning a total of 6,555 Swedes have died so far due to the disease.

There were 4,954 new cases registered on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed infections to 230,514. Out of those, 3,162 have required intensive care, according to the Swedish Intensive Care Registry.

According to a new report published on Wednesday by Statistics Sweden, Swedes’ average life expectancy will likely fall this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.