French Prime Minister Jean Castex told yesterday that France had entered a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, as the seven-day average of new cases rose above 25,000 for the first time since Nov 20.
French health authorities reported 29,975 new cases yesterday, a 4.5% jump versus last Tuesday’s totaland the sharpest week-on-week rise in a month and a half.
France is grappling with a steady rise of new cases, leading to a heavy strain on the country’s hospital system, which prominent health experts say can be tackled only by a new lockdown. Like other EU countries, France has lagged far behind India, United States or Britain in vaccinating its population.
President Emmanuel Macron is still hoping a vaccination drive can stave off the effects of a new pandemic wave triggered by more contagious variants, and thus prevent France from resorting to a third national lockdown.
But suspension of the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, announced on Monday over safety concerns, could jeopardise the government’s strategy.
With 4.11 million people infected since the start of the outbreak, France has the sixth-highest case count in the world and it has the world’s seventh-highest death toll at 91,170 fatalities.