France New Covid-19 Infections Reach Record for Second Day
French Covid-19 infections hit a record for a second straight day as the fast-spreading omicron variant takes hold in much of Europe.
New daily cases totaled 94,124 in France on Friday, according to data from the public health office. That topped the 91,608 infections recorded the previous day. The country reported 169 deaths.
The variant has also driven cases to records in the U.K. and Italy in the runup to the holidays. French Health Minister Olivier Veran predicted earlier this week that the omicron strain will become dominant in France during the period between Christmas and New Year’s.
President Emmanuel Macron will convene his health defense council on Monday to discuss the coronavirus, AFP reported, citing the president’s office. The government intends to adopt a system requiring people to be fully vaccinated to enter bars, restaurants and cultural venues starting as soon as early January to help slow the spread, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Tuesday.
French authorities have been watching health trends in the U.K., which has 10 to 14 days lead time in terms of progression of omicron over France.
Britain reported more than 100,000 cases for a third straight day on Friday. Before this month, the U.K. had never had more than 70,000 cases in a day.
While infections are surging, early studies out of South Africa, Scotland and England show the omicron variant appears less likely to put patients in the hospital than previous strains. The findings raise hopes there will be fewer cases of severe disease, yet omicron’s greater infectiousness means it could still severely strain health services.
France’s hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions have been rising, but not as quickly as cases, and remain well below previous pandemic peaks.
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