French COVID-19 Cases and Deaths Mount Up​

A health worker, wearing a protective suit and a face mask, prepares to administer a nasal swab to a patient at a testing site for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) installed in front of the city-hall in Paris, France, September 2, 2020. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

PARIS (Reuters) - The number of new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in France rose by 6,544 over the last 24 hours to give a total of 335,524 cases, the health ministry said on Tuesday, as the country battles to avert a second wave of the virus.

The number of deaths also climbed by 39 over the last 24 hours to reach a total of 30,764.

France has the world's seventh-highest COVID-19 death toll, and authorities are scrutinising the data to see what measures might be needed to help it cope with an expected second wave of the virus this winter.

The government has said that while it will do all it can to avoid another nationwide lockdown, such as that imposed across the country from March to May, it will nevertheless keep all its options open.

Health Minister Olivier Veran said earlier on Tuesday that the COVID-19 situation was worrying, although he felt a big second wave of infections could be avoided.

"The reproduction rate of the virus stands at 1.2 which is less than the 3.2-3.4 level seen during the spring. So the virus is spreading at lesser speed but it is circulating, which is worrying", Veran told France Inter radio.