Omicron has become the main coronavirus strain in France, where the number of new infections has topped 200,000 for two days in a row.
The Public Health agency said in its latest weekly survey published Thursday that “62.4 percent of tests showed a profile compatible with the Omicron variant” at the start of the week compared to 15 percent the previous week.
The Omicron variant’s advance was expected because it is highly contagious and has become dominant in other European countries including Britain and Portugal.
The strain has contributed to the current flare-up in cases, which surpassed 200,000 in the 24-hour period from Thursday to Friday for the third day in a row, with 232,200 new cases reported.
‘The number of older people in France who are not vaccinated is quite high compared to other countries’
At the beginning of December there were fewer than 50,000 daily cases. In early November the daily data broke the 10,000 threshold for the first time since mid-September.
French hospitals are now caring for 18,000 Covid-19 patients, including 1,922 new admissions between Wednesday and Thursday, with more than 3,500 people in intensive care.
Faced with the wave of infections, the government announced Monday new curbs to make people work from home and imposed limits on the numbers attending public events. Schools are nevertheless set to reopen on schedule on Monday after the holiday break.
Wearing face masks outdoors is again compulsory in Paris for everyone over the age of 11 starting on Friday.
The virus has claimed 123,741 lives in France since it was detected in China in late 2019.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)