PARIS (Reuters) - France's new daily COVID-19 infections remained above the record 18,000 threshold for the second day on Thursday, while the number of people treated in hospital for the disease was up.
The figures were published shortly before Health Minister Olivier Veran holds a news conference during which he is likely to announce new restrictions to contain the disease.
Hospitals in the Paris region moved into emergency mode on Thursday, cancelling staff holidays and postponing non-essential operations, as coronavirus patients made up close to half of all patients in intensive care units (ICUs).
According to French media, Veran will put other major cities - including Lyon and Lille - on maximum COVID-19 alert, a level reached by Paris and Marseille that triggers new measures to curb the circulation of the coronavirus in those cities.
The number of people in hospital for COVID-19 stood at a three-month high of 7,624 on a national level, an increase of 88 over 24 hours. That total is still lower than an April 14 peak of 32,292 but up versus an Aug. 29 low of 4,530.
There were 11 more patients in ICUs for the disease, at 1,427, a tally almost four times higher than a July 31 low of 371.
The number of people in France who have died from COVID-19 rose by 76, a figure higher than the seven-day moving average of 73, and now stands at 32,521.
(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Catherine Evans and Janet Lawrence)