Tue, 24 May 2022

French health authorities on Tuesday said they had registered 271,686 new Covid-19 infections, the highest recorded to date, confirming France's position as Europe's hardest-hit country as the Omicron wave sweeps across the continent.

The more-contagious Omicron variant of coronavirus drove the number of confirmed cases in France to more than 160,000 per day last week and more than 200,000 for four consecutive days over the weekend.

France on Saturday became the sixth country in the world to report more than 10 million Covid-19 infections since the outbreak of the pandemic, according to official data.

"The tidal wave has indeed arrived, it's enormous, but we will not give in to panic," Health Minister Olivier Veran told parliament.

In a fresh effort to combat Covid transmission, French MPs on Monday began debating draft legislation that would require most people to be vaccinated against Covid-19 before entering public spaces. The bill would make it mandatory for people to show proof of being vaccinated - and not just a negative Covid test or proof one has recovered from coronavirus - to access public venues and transport.

Dubbed the "vaccine pass", the bill's main measure is aimed at convincing France's remaining 5 million unvaccinated people over the age of 12 to get inoculated.

Reacting to critics who say the draft law infringes on people's civil liberties, Veran said that "selfishness often hides behind talk of supposed liberty".

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS & AFP)

Originally published on France24

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