France set a record for new Covid cases over a 24-hour period on Wednesday with more than 332,000 additional infections recorded, according to the latest official figures.
It was the first time that French cases breached 300,000, smashing the previous record established on Tuesday when 271,686 new Covid cases were recorded.
Over the same period, another 2,483 people were admitted to hospital Wednesday, 396 of them to intensive care.
Hours after Health Minister Olivier Veran told parliament the figures was “from memory” 335,000, the official figure of 332,252 was published by France’s national health authority.
The minister was speaking during a debate on the government’s plan to replace the current health pass — which contains proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery — with a “vaccine pass” for which only people with full vaccination qualify.
Veran said that 66,000 people in France had received their first Covid jab on Wednesday, a daily rate not seen since the beginning of October.
“I don’t believe in coincidences,” Veran said of the high number, which comes after a massive pro-vaccination campaign by the government.
It also follows remarks by President Emmanuel Macron who warned that the government would squeeze those who continue to refuse Covid jabs.
“As for the non-vaccinated, I really want to piss them off,” he said.
If Wednesday’s vaccination rate could be maintained “for 70 or 75 days”, Veran said, “the French population would be completely protected against the serious forms” of Covid.
Around five million people in France are still unvaccinated, with 20 percent of them considered to be at high risk from Covid.
To date, France has suffered 124,563 deaths from Covid.
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