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France aims to slow surging omicron variant

France's virus hospitalisation numbers have shot up in recent weeks, with some 16,000 people currently hospitalised with COVID-19 and 60 per cent of the country's ICU beds occupied by virus patients.

Published: 22nd December 2021 04:35 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd December 2021 04:35 PM   |  A+A-

People wearing face masks to protect against COVID-19 walk past the Eiffel Tower in Paris. (Photo | AP)

People wearing face masks to protect against COVID-19 walk past the Eiffel Tower in Paris. (Photo | AP)

By PTI

PARIS: The French government is grappling with ways to slow the surging omicron variant, while French travellers and families are flocking to virus testing tents ahead of the holidays.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex spent the day Tuesday meeting with mayors and lawmakers to persuade them to support tougher vaccine rules.

France's virus hospitalisation numbers have shot up in recent weeks, with some 16,000 people currently hospitalised with COVID-19 and 60 per cent of the country's ICU beds occupied by virus patients.

Confirmed weekly virus infections are at the highest level in France since the pandemic began.

Most are infected with the delta variant but more than one in three new cases in the Paris region is the fast-spreading omicron variant, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said.

The French government wants a law passed by the end of next month requiring vaccination to enter restaurants and many public venues.

Currently, a "health pass" is required to enter all such spaces in France, but people can get the pass with either a vaccination certificate, a negative virus test or proof of recent recovery from COVID-19.

France is ramping up vaccination and booster efforts, with doses made available to all children 5-11 starting Wednesday.

More than 89 per cent of French people 12 and over have had at least two doses, and about a third have had three doses.



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