France will face a months-long coronavirus epidemic that will overwhelm its health system if something does not change, one of the country's top medical figures warned yesterday, as the global death toll inched towards one million.
In more positive news, residents of the Chinese city of Wuhan -- where the virus emerged last year -- reported a hesitant return to normalcy, while the French Open got underway at Roland Garros in Paris.
"The second wave is arriving faster than we thought," Patrick Bouet, head of National Council of the Order of Doctors in France, told the weekly Journal du Dimanche.
Fresh restrictions to slow the spread of the disease in France's worst-hit areas, including the Mediterranean city of Marseille and the Paris region, have run into local resistance.
Bouet told the paper that warnings delivered this week by Health Minister Olivier Veran had not gone far enough.
"He didn't say that in three to four weeks, if nothing changes, France will face a widespread outbreak across its whole territory, for several long autumn and winter months," Bouet said.
France's health service on Saturday recorded 14,412 new cases over the previous 24 hours -- slightly lower than the record 16,000 registered on both Thursday and Friday.
Despite the number of infections worldwide passing 32 million, more than 10,000 anti-lockdown protesters demonstrated in central London ahead of the re-imposition of restrictions there.
In Spain, hundreds of people protested in Madrid yesterday against partial lockdown measures imposed on parts of the region, mainly in densely populated low-income neighbourhoods, to curb a surge in cases.
In New York state -- once the epicentre of the US outbreak -- new infections rose for the first time since June to above 1,000 a day.
In India, meanwhile, infections closed in on six million yesterday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on people to keep wearing face masks in public. India is expected to take over the US -- which has reported more than seven million cases so far -- as the worst-hit country in the next few weeks.
In Australia, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said Melbourne residents are free from today to leave their homes for work, exercise, shop for essentials, or provide care after active cases in the state fell below 400 for the first time since June 30. The relaxation of the curfew, imposed August 2, comes after 16 new infections and two deaths were reported yesterday.