GR US

French Finance Minister among 13K New COVID-19 Cases

Αssociated Press

Bruno Le Maire, France s minister for economic and financial affairs, speaks during the Informal Meeting of Economics and Finance Ministers in Berlin, Germany, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020. (Kay Nietfeld/DPA via AP, Pool)

PARIS — Coronavirus infections tipped the scales again in France on Saturday with nearly 13,500 new infections in 24 hours. Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire is among them.

He announced Friday in a tweet that he had tested positive with no symptoms and was working during self-isolation. The high-profile Le Maire is the fourth French minister to test positive since March.

It was the second day in a row that new COVID-19 cases in France were above 13,000. The French health agency said Friday’s big jump was the result of one hospital in the Essonne region south of Paris belatedly reporting numerous cases. It wasn’t clear whether that kind of add-on effect was at play on Saturday.

For health authorities, it is clear that France needs to worry about the spread of the coronavirus, with over 1,000 clusters detected. There have been 31,274 deaths since the start of the pandemic — among the highest death tolls in Europe — and 26 deaths in the last 24 hours.

In Paris, the Prefecture de Police warned in a tweet that there will be no more tolerance for bars and restaurants where rules to counter the virus aren’t respected, like standing at counters or failing to respect social distancing. Police “are intensifying” checks that can lead to closing establishments, it said. In one Paris district, 13 establishments were formally notified that they risk being shut down and 16 others were fined, the prefecture tweeted.