The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in France has crossed the million mark, with President Emmanuel Macron predicting the country will have to suffer the virus until at least summer 2021.

On Friday, French health authorities reported 42,032 new coronavirus infections over the previous 24 hours, which saw the overall number of cases reach 1,041,075.

Another 298 people succumbed to the disease over the latest reporting period – 136 more than on the previous day. The total death toll in the country now stands at 34,508.

France is the second nation in Western Europe to reach a million cases, after Spain passed the grim threshold earlier this week. The US, with 8.4 million cases, remains the most infected country in the world, followed by India (7.8 million), Brazil (5.3 million), and Russia (1.5 million).

Macron, visiting a hospital outside Paris on Friday, offered a gloomy forecast for the nation’s Covid outbreak. “When I listen to the scientists, I see that the projections are for, at best, next summer,” he said.

Curfews recently introduced in Paris and eight other major cities to contain the spread of the coronavirus, are set to be extended to 38 other regions from midnight on Friday. The measure will bar 46 million out of the country’s 67 million-strong population from leaving their home between 9pm and 6am.   

According to the president, there’s currently no deadline for those curfews to be lifted – on the contrary, they can be extended. However, he added that it was too early to say if France was on its way toward imposing new full or partial lockdowns.

Earlier, a French government scientific advisor said the virus was spreading faster in the country than during the peak of the first wave in spring.

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