PARIS — France set a grim new record Wednesday, with more than 18,700 new coronavirus infections detected in the past 24 hours.
Health officials said more than 80 people died of the virus in 24 hours, bringing the total number of COVID-19 deaths to 32,445, among the highest counts in Europe.
Authorities have been trying to beat back the worrying increase in infections that began after the summer holidays when people let down their guard, but do not want to return the nation to the strict two-month lockdown that ended in mid-May.
A day ago, bars were closed down in the Paris area and restaurants are being forced to comply with strict conditions if they want to remain open, like taking names and phone numbers of each client. Festive activities were banned.