By Cindi Cook
PARIS (AA) - France reported elevated coronavirus statistics Friday night in all categories, according to the Ministry of Health.
Cases of infection rose by 15,797 over the last 24 hours, the second-highest single-day record for the most infections since lockdown ended May 11. The total number of infections stands at 513,034.
There were 56 fatalities Friday, up by 4 from Thursday, with the death toll currently standing at 31,661. Hospitalizations dipped slightly, to 4,069, with 747 of those patients in intensive care, up by 29.
Worldwide, the death toll from COVID-19 stands at 984,906 in 188 countries with the number of infections at just over 32 million, according to the latest figures from US-based Johns Hopkins University.
The unflagging pandemic has put health officials in France on high alert. Minister of Health Olivier Veran addressed the nation on Wednesday with a new map outlining the most at-risk zones throughout the country, primary among them the Aix-Marseille region. Veran announced that all restaurants, cafes, and bars there would be compelled to close for two weeks as of Saturday morning.
The ruling -- a complete surprise to owners of culinary establishments there -- caused demonstrations in Marseille Friday morning. Municipal officials from the region joined hundreds of restaurant and cafe proprietors in protest.
With the outcry, Veran ventured to the southern French city Friday afternoon to meet with Renaud Muselier, president of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region. The two were able to negotiate the closure from Sunday evening instead of Saturday. A re-assessment will also take place in seven days' time to monitor the situation.
Veran has also guaranteed an additional €17 million ($19m) for hospitals in Marseille to handle new cases of COVID-19.