French virus infections spike over holidays

AP , Sunday 26 Dec 2021

France has recorded more than 100,000 virus infections in a single day for the first time since the pandemic struck, and COVID-19 hospitalizations have doubled over the past month as the fast-spreading omicron variant complicates the government's efforts to stave off a new lockdown.

COVID-19 Patient with medical team, France
Medical workers turn over a COVID-19 patient on a ventilator in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the la Timone hospital in Marseille, southern France, Friday, Dec. 24, 2021. AP

More than 1 person in 100 in the Paris region has tested positive in the past week, according to the regional health service. Most new infections are linked to the omicron variant, which government experts predict will be dominant in France in the coming days.

Meanwhile a surge in delta variant infections in recent months is pushing up hospital admissions. More than 1,000 people in France with the virus died over the past week, bringing the overall death toll to more than 122,000.

The government is holding emergency meetings Monday to discuss next steps. Some scientists and educators have urged delaying the post-holiday return to school, or re-imposing a curfew.

But the education minister says schools should open as usual Jan. 3, and other government officials are working to avoid measures that would hammer the economic recovery.

Instead the government is hoping that stepped-up vaccinations will be enough. The government is pushing a draft law that would require vaccination to enter all restaurants and many public venues, instead of the current health pass system which allows people to produce a negative test or proof of recovery if they're not vaccinated.

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