France hits staggering new case record, Europe’s highest


France announced a staggering 332,252 daily virus cases Thursday, smashing a string of recent records, as hospitals prepared drastic measures to brace for patient surges and the government strained to avoid a new lockdown.

With Europe’s highest-ever single-day con-firmed infection count, France is facing an omicron-driven surge that is dominating the race for April’s presidential election and increasingly disrupting workplaces, schools and public life.

But the country also has one of the world’s most-vaccinated populations, so the government is hoping the sweeping infections won’t hit hospitals as badly as at the start of the pandemic, and is push-ing the small minority of unvaccinated people to get inoculated fast.

France’s weekly average of virus cases has dou-bled in the past 10 days, with more than 1,800 peo-ple out of 100,000 testing positive over the past week, according to the government health agency.

The number of virus patients in hospitals has been on an upward trajectory for two months, and more than 72% of French ICU beds are now occu-pied by people with COVID-19.—AP


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