July 22, 2020 / 6:01 PM / 17 days ago

France: new confirmed coronavirus cases up 998

FILE PHOTO: A man, wearing a protective face mask, walks in a street in Paris as France enforces mask-wearing in enclosed public spaces as part of efforts to curb a resurgence of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across the country, July 20, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes/FILE PHOTO

PARIS (Reuters) - France has recorded 998 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours amid rising concerns about new flare-ups of the epidemic, according to the latest health ministry data released on Wednesday.

The number of confirmed cases now stands at 178,336, the ministry said. The number of people in hospitals with the virus was down to 6,366 from 6,482 a day earlier, and the number in intensive care was down to 445 from 455 a day earlier, the figures showed.

The number of deaths in France from the new coronavirus stood at 30,172 against 30,165 a day earlier.

France has made face coverings compulsory in shops and other enclosed public spaces since July 20 in response to signs that the COVID-19 outbreak is flaring up again in some areas, especially in western and southern France.

Health Minister Olivier Veran told France 2 television on Wednesday that the government would supply for free seven million French people living in poverty with 40 million

re-usable face masks.

“France will not let down those who can’t afford masks,” he said.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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