‘It is no longer waves of Covid…it’s tidal waves’: France sees 208,000 cases in 24 hours – Europe’s highest-ever daily tally – as health minister warns there are two infections every second
France has recorded 208,000 new Covid infections in the past 24 hours, the highest number seen in Europe throughout the entire pandemic.
Health minister Olivier Veran warned lawmakers of the tsunami of new cases, breaking France’s own record set a day before with 180,000 infections.
Every second, two people in France are testing positive for COVID-19, Veran said.
And 70 per cent of those in intensive care in Paris are unvaccinated, while among the vaccinated patients, 80 per cent are immunocompromised.
Veran added that the situation in hospitals was worrying because of the Delta variant, with Omicron yet to have an impact.
France has recorded 208,000 new Covid infections in the past 24 hours, the highest number seen in Europe throughout the entire pandemic. Pictured: an emergency Covid center in Lagny-sur-Marne near Paris
Health minister Olivier Veran (pictured) warned lawmakers of the tsunami of new cases, breaking France’s own record set a day before with 180,000 infections
The flu will further complicate things for hospitals, he said.
‘I wouldn’t call Omicron a wave anymore, I would call it a tidal wave,’ Veran said.
‘Given the numbers we have been seeing these past few days, we’re talking about a landslide.’
Some 10 per cent of the French population had been in contact with somebody who is infected with the virus, Veran said, and even vaccinations were unlikely to offer enough protection.
‘The virus circulation is too intense,’ he said.
The minister had warned on Monday that France could reach more than 250,000 daily Covid cases by the beginning of January.
Global COVID-19 infections hit a record high over the past seven days, Reuters data showed on Wednesday, as the new Omicron variant spread rapidly, keeping many workers at home and overwhelming testing centres.
This week, France announced a raft of new Covid measures, making working from home mandatory three days a week, limiting attendance for indoor events and banning eating on long distance trains.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the government is narrowing the delay for a third booster shot to three months from four, but there will be no curfew for New Year’s Eve.
He added that for the next three weeks, all public gatherings will be limited to 2,000 people for indoor events, and to 5,000 people for outdoor events.
Professor Paul Hunter, an epidemiologist at the University of East Anglia, said a ban on food and drinks on long-distance trains was probably an attempt to ensure people wear masks as much as possible.
Prof Hunter told MailOnline: ‘If people wear face coverings it will reduce the rate of transmission by about 20 per cent.’
However, he said whether the food and drinks ban will make a big impact was ‘uncertain’
Health experts estimated the number of daily cases could increase rapidly by mid-January, even though millions of people received booster shots in recent weeks.
French parents sue after daughter mistakenly gets Moderna jab
The parents of a 10-year-old girl in France are suing the authorities after their daughter received a Moderna Covid vaccine only allowed for adults over feared side effects, officials said Wednesday.
‘A complaint has been filed by the father over this,’ state prosecutor Cyril Lacombe told AFP, confirming reports in local media.
The ARS regional health service said the girl was mistakenly administered the Moderna shot on December 22 at the vaccination centre in Avranches, a town along the Channel coast.
‘Health professionals at the centre realised the mistake immediately, and the doctor in charge consulted with the family,’ the ARS said in a statement, noting that ‘the child is doing well’.
France and several other countries are not letting children receive the Moderna vaccine over a potential risk of myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart muscle.
The rare side effect has been detected in adolescents and young adults, especially males, prompting officials to reserve the Pfizer/BioNTech jab for children aged five to 12.
The ARS said the doctor explained to the parents how to recognise any symptoms of heart inflammation, which is ‘reversible and not serious’.
Joanny Allombert, director of the Avranches hospital, said the girl was mistakenly put in the wrong waiting queue.
‘The girl was asked to sit in the wrong place because there was no more room where she should have been,’ he told France Bleu radio. ‘And things went wrong from there.’
‘The nurse made the injection but realised her mistake right away,’ he added.
Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines rely on messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) technology, a cutting-edge process that introduces a ‘blueprint’ of the coronavirus spike protein into the body, which can then recognise it and fight it in case of infection.
Moderna, which has filed for approval of its vaccine for young children with the European Medicines Agency, said in October that clinical trials had shown positive results.