France faces new curfew as Covid cases rise: Country sees over 100,000 infections in ONE DAY
France recorded more than 100,000 coronavirus infections in a single day for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Covid cases in hospital have also doubled in the past month as the fast-spreading Omicron variant complicates government efforts to avoid another lockdown.
More than one in 100 people in the Paris region tested positive last week, according to the regional health service.
Most of the new infections are linked to Omicron, which government experts say will be dominant in France in the coming days.
Meanwhile, an increase in Delta-variant infections in recent months is driving up hospital admissions.
More than 1,000 people in France with the virus have died in the past week, bringing the total death toll to more than 122,000.
Nurse Medina Bengler feeds a patient with COVID-19 in the COVID-19 Continuing Care Unit at La Timone Hospital in Marseille, southern France, Friday, December 24, 2021. Hospital La Timone de Marseille, one of France’s largest hospitals, has withstood wave after wave of COVID-19
Medical workers tend to a patient suffering from COVID-19 and on a ventilator in the intensive care unit of La Timone hospital in Marseille, southern France, Thursday, December 23, 2021
People line up to get a nasal exchange at a mobile COVID-19 testing site on Christmas Eve on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Friday, December 24, 2021.
The head of intensive care at La Timone hospital in Marseille, France, said most COVID-19 patients at Christmas were unvaccinated, while his staff are exhausted or unable to work because they are infected. .
“We’re fed up,” said Dr Julien Carvelli, the hospital’s chief of intensive care.
“We are afraid of not having enough space.”
The government is holding emergency meetings on Monday to discuss next steps. Some scientists and educators have urged that the return to school after the Christmas holidays be delayed or that a curfew be reimposed.
But the education minister has said schools should open as usual on January 3, and other government officials are scrambling to avoid measures that would hammer the economy’s recovery.
Instead, the government is hoping that the boosted vaccinations will be enough.
The government is pushing a bill that would require vaccination to enter all restaurants and many public places, instead of the current health pass system that allows people to produce a negative test or proof of recovery if they are not vaccinated.
Emergency nurse Sonia Harrat takes a break from work on Christmas Day at La Timone hospital in Marseille, southern France, Saturday December 25, 2021.
Medical personnel prepare nasal exchanges to test a woman with her children at a test site on Christmas Eve in La Celle-Saint-Cloud, west of Paris, Friday, December 24, 2021.
Hospital worker Houda Mokrani takes a selfie with her colleagues on Christmas Day in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at La Timone hospital in Marseille, southern France, on Friday, December 25 2021.
The spike in Covid cases in France comes as Boris Johnson considers implementing new coronavirus restrictions across Britain after SAGE experts warned that the Omicron variant could cause a higher rise in hospitalizations than last winter’s peak.
ONS figures on Friday showed 1 in 10 Londoners had the virus last week, and it is now feared that millions of Britons could be forced into seven-day isolation – crippling essential services such as the police and public transports.
In minutes of a December 23 meeting released last night, the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies warned that the spike in hospital admissions ‘could be on par with or higher than previous peaks’ – including the second wave of January.
However, MPs and hospitality bosses have warned not to introduce further restrictions before New Year’s Eve or risk ‘devastating’ businesses, while the Prime Minister is said to be determined to avoid closing schools after that Tory MPs fired a warning shot at Mr Johnson and his government opposes any lockdown.
Cabinet ministers last week rejected suggestions from government scientists to tighten the rules before Christmas.
Following studies last week that showed Omicron is significantly less likely to cause hospitalization than the Delta variant, Mr Johnson is not expected to introduce any legally binding restrictions or lockdowns.
London is the hardest hit by the new variant, with one in 20 infected with the virus and ten of the worst affected postcodes in England located in a three square mile stretch between Wandsworth and Lambeth (highlighted in yellow above)
In a more likely scenario, the Prime Minister could issue directives telling people to limit their contact.
Last January, hospitalizations peaked at 4,583 daily admissions, more than four times the current rate.
But although studies last week found Omicron to be far less virulent than Delta – between 15 and 70% less likely to lead to hospitalization – Sage cautioned against optimism.
He warned that these figures were largely based on young people who have so far made up the bulk of infections.