COVID-19 situation continues to worsen in France, with over 300,000 new COVID-19 cases

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            PARIS,:The French Public Health Agency reported on Wednesday 332,252 new COVID-19 cases detected in the last 24 hours, breaking the daily record set on Tuesday.

   Speaking to the press on Wednesday, French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said that the fight against the pandemic in France is “far from over.”

   “In two weeks, the incidence rate has tripled and has exceeded 1,800 cases per 100,000 inhabitants,” he said.

   Hospitals are overcrowded, and the majority of coronavirus-infected patients in intensive care are unvaccinated, he added.

   “The situation could get worse over the next few weeks,” Attal warned. Nearly 20,000 people are  hospitalised, and more than 2,000 new patients are being admitted on a daily basis, he said.

   About 3,700 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care, which is more than 70 percent of the French health system’s initial capacity.

   “The booster dose of the vaccine prevents 90 percent of severe forms, including for the Omicron variant,” Attal stressed.

   He also announced several decisions of the Council of Ministers, including the declaration of a health emergency in French overseas territories.

   For travellers between France and the United Kingdom, the list of compelling reasons to travel will be “enlarged, mostly for professionals.”

   Eight million COVID-19 self-tests will be distributed next week in pharmacies, including Chinese-made self-tests.

   Discussions on the French health pass bill resumed on Wednesday, following the second suspension voted by a majority of members of Parliament.

   Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Jean Castex also told the Parliament that the draft bill must be “debated quickly” as the government has announced that it will be passed on  Jan. 15. .

   “There is an issue with our fellow citizens who refuse to get vaccinated”, Castex added.