Win the adventure of a lifetime!

UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Homeland Security

People's Daily Online

France's COVID-19 death toll tops 65,000

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 09:12, January 04, 2021

PARIS, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- France has registered 12,489 coronavirus infections over the past 24 hours, bringing the cumulative total to 2,665,728, while the death toll went up by 116 to 65,037, according to data released on Sunday by the Health Ministry.

Cold weather, effects of gatherings during year-end holidays, return to school scheduled for Monday and emergence of virus variants are the main worrying factors, said Director General of Health Jerome Salomon in an interview with weekly newspaper Journal du Dimanche.

The return to class of the pupils who might have traveled with their families across the country will lead to a mixing of people, which "can reshuffle the cards of the epidemiological situation," said Salomon.

"The trend is already worrying" with an incidence rate "on the rise again after a fairly long plateau," a gradual increase in the number of cases since the beginning of December and significant hospital figures which "remain at a high level," said Salomon.

France has detected coronavirus variants first found in Britain and South Africa, he noted, saying that it's also a worrying factor because the variants are "not necessarily more dangerous but clearly more contagious."

Calling on the French to redouble their vigilance, Salomon reiterated that the government's objective is to "get through winter to achieve vaccine efficacy."

In 15 departments where the epidemic indicators are worse than the national average, mostly in the northeast and southeast border areas, the nation-wide curfew from 8.p.m. to 6 a.m. has been brought forward by two hours since Friday.

One week after the vaccination rollout, only hundreds of French -- all elderly in nursing homes as they belong to the top priority group under the government's program -- have received their first dose. Local channel BFM TV deplored that the pace was too slow compared to some other European countries where tens of thousands of inhabitants have already been vaccinated.

Facing growing criticism, the government has pledged to accelerate the campaign. Minister of health Olivier Veran indicated that caregivers over the age of 50 will be able to be vaccinated as of Monday "in centers already having vaccines."

Veran said the first vaccination centers will open in towns "before the beginning of February" to "start vaccinating people aged 75 and over, then 65 and over."

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in France and some other countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 232 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 60 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Dec. 29.

Join the mailing list