France reports 46,677 new COVID-19 cases, 332 deaths

France registered 46,677 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, pushing the cumulative total to 4,741,759. The death toll increased to 96,280, up by 332 in one day, the health authorities said on Friday.

Currently, 28,729 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, including 5,254 in intensive care, up 148 and 145, respectively, compared to the previous day.

Starting Friday midnight, the whole of France enters a new lockdown to contain COVID-19. On Wednesday evening, President Emmanuel Macron called on the country’s 67 million inhabitants not to leave their homes. Schools will be closed for three weeks, teleworking must become the rule and inter-regional travel will be prohibited for at least one month.

Unlike during the strict lockdown in the spring of 2020 or the less stringent containment in November, people will be allowed to move around within a 10-kilometer radius of their homes during the day without a time limit or the need to fill out a certificate.

It is also exceptionally allowed, until Monday, to leave one’s place of residence to settle in other regions during the confinement. “Either you go for four weeks, or you do not go,” explained Minister of State for Tourism Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne.

As shops not selling essential goods will have to shut down across the country for one month, the government is currently evaluating the consequences of the third confinement.

New forecasts will be released within “a few days,” Minister of Economy, Finance and the Recovery Bruno Le Maire told CNews TV early on Friday.

On Wednesday, his ministry said that aid to businesses would total 11 billion euros (13 billion U.S. dollars) per month, up from 7.2 billion euros per month quoted in mid-March, when part of the country was put under restrictions.

“All the aid to companies discharged in 2020 amounted to 47 billion euros. Until now, the Ministry of Economy has forecast a bill of 32 billion euros for the whole of 2021. This figure will have to be reviewed,” the French daily Les Echos wrote on Friday.

Since the start of the vaccination campaign, 9,086,564 people in France, or 17.3 percent of the adult population, have received at least one injection and 3,049,333 people, 5.8 percent of the adult population, have received two injections, the Health Ministry said on Friday.

France has approved the use of four vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.

Meanwhile, 269 candidate vaccines are still being developed globally — 85 of them in clinical trials — in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Friday. (1 euro = 1.18 U.S. dollars)