France’s Covid cases top 4mn, total deaths pass 90K

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France on Friday reported 25,229 new coronavirus cases in a 24-hour span, taking the total to 4,015,560, and the cumulative number of related deaths passed 90,000, according to data released by health authorities.

Since the epidemic outbreak, a total of 90,146 Covid-19 patients in France had died, representing a single-day rise of 228, official data showed, Xinhua news agency reported.

The number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients dropped by 109 to 24,749. But the number of those who need life support increased by 41 to 4,033, the highest level since late November 2020.

The highly contagious variant of the Covid-19 virus first detected in Britain represents now more than 67 percent of all new infections in France, while the new strains found in Brazil and South Africa account for up to 6 percent of the total positive cases in France, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Thursday.

In the greater Paris region, home to 12 million inhabitants and France’s main economic hub, the coronavirus indicators were “particularly worrying” with one Covid-19 patient admitted to the intensive care unit every 12 minutes, said Veran.

When visiting a Paris hospital on Friday evening, Prime Minister Jean Castex said: “The reality of the hospital situation in Ile-de-France (greater Paris region) is extremely tense, difficult.”

“We are monitoring this situation from day to day to be ready at any time to take the measures that it calls for,” he added.

Paris police prefecture announced on Friday that more than 4,000 police officers and gendarmes would be deployed in the capital at the weekend to ensure the respect of mask-wearing and nightly curfew and evacuate crowded public places where barrier gestures are not applied.

Since late December last year, France has administered 4,569,849 first dose of the COVID-19 vaccines, with priority given to the elderly, the vulnerable and frontline health workers.

After Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca, France’s health regulator on Friday approved Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine for use at home for all adults, including people aged 65 and over with comorbidities or not, in a move to speed up vaccine rollout.

–IANS

int/pgh