PARIS (Reuters) - The number of people in intensive care units in France rose by 68 to 5,341 on Sunday, official data showed, as the country entered its third coronavirus lockdown.
That followed a smaller jump the previous day, when the number of ICU patients - a key indicator of the pressure on hospitals during the pandemic - climbed by 19.
Schools and non-essential stores will be shut in France over the next four weeks as the government tries to tackle the spread of the virus and avoid overwhelming hospitals.
President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to increase the number of ICU beds while also trying to step up a COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
The number of coronavirus deaths in France rose by 185 on Sunday to a total of 96, 678 since the start of the pandemic.
New cases jumped by 66,794, bringing the total to just over 4.8 million, although the health ministry had given no updated figures for contagions on Saturday due to data problems.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said earlier on Sunday that teachers and people working more broadly in the education sector would become eligible for vaccinations from mid-April.
(Reporting by Sarah White and Blandine Henault; Editing by Peter Graff and Jan Harvey)