PARIS: France's Public Health Agency on Saturday reported 13,498 new coronavirus cases in a 24-hour span, a new daily record of confirmed cases since the start of the epidemic.
The country's previous highest daily of new cases was at 13,215 reported on Friday. Saturday's figure brought the cumulative total of confirmed coronavirus cases in France to 442,194.
Some 31,274 patients had died of COVID-19 since February, representing a single-day rise of 26.
Coronavirus infections have surged in France in recent weeks, particularly among young people, prompting the government to order the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors and in workplaces.
It also pledged to further boost COVID-19 tests, reinforce control of self-isolation conditions and impose stricter rules in zones of high risk. But it ruled out a new nationwide lockdown.
France's major cities of Bordeaux, Marseille and Nice -- classified as red zones -- have banned public gatherings of 10 people in parks and beaches and reduced public-event attendance number to 1,000 from 5,000. People are urged to limit their visits to nursing homes, and not to eat and drink in bars while standing.
As the world is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries across the world -- including France, China, Britain and the U.S. -- are racing to find a vaccine. According to the website of the World Health Organization (WHO), as of Sept. 17, there were 182 COVID-19 candidate vaccines being developed worldwide, and 36 of them were in clinical trials.