France tops 2 million coronavirus cases

Government has set a December 1 target for ending the nationwide lockdown

epa08800005 Pedestrians pass by a COVID-19 test center set up outside a pharmacy, in Paris, France, 05 November 2020. France is placed in a second national lockdown, dubbed 'reconfinement' to battle a surge in Covid-19 coronavirus cases, averaging 40,000 new daily cases.  EPA/IAN LANGSDON

France's total number of Covid-19 cases since the start of the pandemic has passed two million, but efforts to reduce virus numbers are starting to bear fruit, its top health official said on Tuesday.

The have been 2,036,755 confirmed coronavirus infections reported in France since the beginning of the pandemic.

The number of deaths in hospitals and nursing homes now at 46,273, including 437 over the past 24 hours, Director General of Health Jerome Salomon said.

"Our collective efforts are starting to bear fruit, the number of new cases has been going down over a few days...We must double down our efforts to regain control of the epidemic," Mr Salomon told a news conference.

"Respecting the curfew and the lockdown explains this positive trend. We must maintain a very high level of vigilance to be able to go through the end-of-the-year festivities and the winter months safely," he added.

Health Minister Olivier Veran said earlier on Tuesday that the country was starting to curb the spread of the coronavirus but was not ready to ease its second national lockdown.

The French government has set a December 1 target for ending the lockdown, although it might be extended if the coronavirus numbers don’t fall by enough.

President Emmanuel Macron will speak towards the middle of next week about conditions for a progressive easing of the lockdown, BFM TV said on Tuesday, citing sources.

France has recorded the fourth highest number of coronavirus infections globally, and is seventh in the number of deaths.