France sees over 100,000 daily virus infections for 1st time

Dec 26, 2021, 4:28 AM | Updated: Dec 28, 2021, 12:18 am
Hospital workers pose for a selfie together in the COVID-19 intensive care unit of the la Timone ho...

Hospital workers pose for a selfie together in the COVID-19 intensive care unit of the la Timone hospital in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021. Marseille’s La Timone Hospital, one of France’s biggest hospitals, has weathered wave after wave of COVID-19. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

(AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

PARIS (AP) — France has recorded more than 100,000 virus infections in a single day for the first time in the pandemic and COVID-19 hospitalizations have doubled over the past month, as the fast-spreading omicron variant complicates the French government’s efforts to stave off a new lockdown.

More than 1 in 100 people in the Paris region have tested positive in the past week, according to the regional health service. Most new infections are linked to the omicron variant, which government experts predict will be dominant in France in the coming days. Omicron is already dominant in Britain, right across the Channel.

Meanwhile a surge in delta variant infections in recent months is pushing up hospital admissions in France, and put ICUs under strain again over the Christmas holidays. More than 1,000 people in France with the virus died over the past week, bringing the country’s overall death toll to more than 122,000.

President Emmanuel Macron’s government is holding emergency meetings Monday to discuss the next steps in tackling the virus. Some scientists and educators have urged delaying the post-holiday return to school, or suggested re-imposing a curfew.

But France’s education minister says schools should open as usual on Jan. 3, and other government officials are working to avoid measures that would hammer the country’s economic recovery.

Instead the French government is hoping that stepped-up vaccinations will be enough. The government is pushing a draft law that would require vaccination to enter all restaurants and many public venues, instead of the current health pass system which allows people to produce a negative test or proof of recovery if they’re not vaccinated.

In neighboring Belgium, the government imposed new measures starting Sunday that ordered cultural venues like movie theaters and concert halls to close.

Some venues defied the ban, and thousands of performers, event organizers and others demonstrated Sunday in Brussels against the decision, carrying signs reading “The Show Must Go On” or “No Culture No Future.” They accuse the Belgian government of double standards because it allowed Christmas markets, with their boisterous crowds and mulled wine drinking, to stay open, along with restaurants and bars.

Even the scientific committee advising the Belgian government had not asked for the culture industry closures, leaving virologist Marc Van Ranst to ponder that, in Belgium, “gluhwein beat culture.”

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, the Dutch government has gone farther than most European countries and shut down all nonessential stores, restaurants and bars and extended the school holidays in a partial new lockdown.

In Britain, where the omicron variant has been dominant for days, government requirements have been largely voluntary and milder than those on the continent, but the Conservative government said it could impose new restrictions after Christmas. The U.K. hit a new high of 122,186 daily infections on Friday, but did not report figures for Christmas.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland imposed new restrictions Sunday on socializing, mainly limiting the size of gatherings, moves that the restaurant, pub and nightclub industries have described as economically devastating.

___

Follow all AP stories on the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - SAS planes are grounded at Oslo Gardermoen airport during pilots strikes, in Oslo, Friday, A...
Associated Press

Carrier SAS files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in US

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Scandinavian Airlines on Tuesday filed for bankruptcy in the United States, warning the announcement of a strike by 1,000 pilots a day earlier had put the future of the carrier at risk. The move adds to the likelihood of travel chaos across Europe as the summer vacation period begins. The Stockholm-based […]
2 hours ago
A Somali man carries a child as he and others who fled drought-stricken areas arrive at a makeshift...
Associated Press

Ukraine’s shadow: Deadly crises like Somalia starved of aid

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — More than two dozen children have died of hunger in the past two months in a single hospital in Somalia. Dr. Yahye Abdi Garun has watched their emaciated parents stumble in from rural areas gripped by the driest drought in decades. And yet no humanitarian aid arrives. Shortly after Russia invaded […]
2 hours ago
FILE- Sri Lanka's new prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe gestures during an interview with The Ass...
Associated Press

Sri Lanka PM says talks with IMF difficult due to bankruptcy

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund are more complex and difficult than in the past because it is a bankrupt nation, the country’s prime minister said Tuesday. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told lawmakers that recent discussions with a visiting IMF mission were fruitful but not as straightforward as […]
2 hours ago
Associated Press

IEA: High prices, uncertainty will slow growth in gas demand

BERLIN (AP) — The International Energy Agency says high prices for natural gas and supply fears due to the war in Ukraine will slow the growth in demand for the fossil fuel in the coming years. In a report published Tuesday, the Paris-based agency forecast global demand for natural gas will rise by 140 billion […]
2 hours ago
FILE - Protesters gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. After the ...
Associated Press

Companies could face hurdles covering abortion travel costs

After the U.S. Supreme Court revoked the federal right to an abortion that’s been in place for half a century, companies like Amazon, Disney, Apple and JP Morgan pledged to cover travel costs for employees who live in states where the procedure is now illegal so they can terminate pregnancies. But the companies gave scant […]
2 hours ago
70-year-old Valentyna Klymenko, who lives alone in her war-damaged building from Russian aerial bom...
Associated Press

Ukrainians displaced near Kyiv fear for war-damaged homes

BORODYANKA, Ukraine (AP) — Valentyna Klymenko tries to return home as late as possible to avoid the darkness of her war-damaged home outside Ukraine’s capital. She visits friends, goes to the well for water or looks for a place to charge her phone. The 70-year-old Klymenko then returns alone to an apartment that used to […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
France sees over 100,000 daily virus infections for 1st time