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France rules out second lockdown after recording 9,000 cases in one day
6 September 2020, 07:34
France has ruled out the possibility of a second lockdown, despite recording a record-high of new cases.
Health authorities on Friday reported 8,975 new confirmed cases - almost 1,500 higher than the previous daily peak of 7,578 which was set on 31 March during the height of their lockdown.
It is thought the surge in cases is partly down to an increase in testing.
On Tuesday more than 12 million pupils returned to schools in France, although 22 have since be re-closed in an effort to deal with the spread of the disease.
More than 30,600 people with the virus have died in France, among the highest death tolls in Europe after Britain and Italy.
The total number of cases has now reached 309,156.
France's government unveiled a 100 billion euro (£89 billion) recovery plan on Wednesday, aimed at yanking the country out of its worst economic slump since the Second World War.
The massive plan includes money to bring back manufacturing of medical supplies to French factories, develop hydrogen energy, help museums and the cinema industry, train young people for 21st century jobs and hire more staff at unemployment offices.
"It's an important step for our strategy in the fight against the economic and social consequences of the crisis that hit France," Prime Minister Jean Castex said.
The government spent hundreds of billions of euros in emergency aid as the virus sped across France and filled its once-renowned hospitals earlier this year, prompting a strict two-month lockdown that nearly froze the economy but slowed the spread of infections.
"France held on, but it is incontestably weakened," Mr Castex said, and now must pull itself out of "an extremely sudden and brutal recession".
The economy shrank 13.8% in the second quarter, which has torpedoed President Emmanuel Macron's grand mission to transform the French economy before his first term ends in 2022.