France Covid-19 death toll tops 79,000

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The number of deaths caused by the novel coronavirus in France topped 79,000 since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, official figures showed on Monday.

The country counted 458 new fatalities in the past 24-hour period, bringing the national death toll to 79,423, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Another 4,317 people tested positive for the virus within one day, compared to 19,715 confirmed on Sunday. The rise of new cases tends to slow down on Mondays as fewer people conduct tests at the weekend.

The cumulative number of cases in France now rises to 3.3 million. Of them, 28,037 people are treated in hospitals, up by 343 in one day.

Since France launched its coronavirus vaccination campaign in late December, over 1.92 million people have received their first shot, and 296,265 had their second.

Early on Monday, Health Minister Olivier Veran was given his first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine in a vaccination centre in Melun, southeastern Paris.

The 40-year-old minister, also a neurologist, belongs to a priority group for vaccination along with health staff and people with co-morbidities aged under 65.

“I invite all caregivers to be vaccinated in hospitals, vaccination centers… to be protected as quickly as possible,” Veran told reporters shortly after his inoculation.

“I am vaccinated but I still wear the mask. I put on hydroalcoholic gel, I respect all barrier gestures, I don’t relax vigilance,” he added.

France aims to inoculate all the citizens over 65 by the end of May and all adults before September.

–IANS

int/rs