PARIS, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) — France on Wednesday confirmed 23,852 infections with COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, the biggest one-day tally since Jan. 6, as more infectious variants circulate, posing growing risk of the epidemic rebound, health authorities data showed.

France’s cumulative number of infections has grown to 2,830,442, with the coronavirus-related deaths surpassing 69,000 after 229 patients died in one day.

Some 24,769 patients were hospitalized, of whom 2,711 are in intensive care units, up by 32 and 23 respectively.

Early Wednesday, Jean-Francois Delfraissy, the government’s top scientific adviser, warned that “the coming three months will be difficult,” notably due to the circulation of the highly infectious virus variant first detected in the United Kingdom.