France has recorded over 200,000 Covid cases in the past 24 hours, with the seventh wave building pace ahead of the start of the school summer holidays tomorrow (July 7).
Newly appointed French Health Minister François Braun (an emergency services doctor) has recommended that people wear a mask in crowded places and on public transport. This is not yet a government requirement although the Nice mayor is making mask-wearing obligatory on all local transport from Monday, July 11.
“The Omicron B4.4 and BA.5 sub-variants, which are now the majority strains, are causing a nationwide epidemic resurgence,” Mr Braun said during a parliamentary discussion on health monitoring and safety on Tuesday.
He said that France has been averaging around 120,000 new cases each day since the end of June.
The government is already preparing to prolong the requirement for travellers to present a Covid health pass when entering France, which is currently set to end on July 31.
Other Covid measures are likely to be reviewed in the coming week and could include extending the use of France’s Covid test database SI-DEP and its system of alerting the close contacts of people with Covid and creating a new committee to monitor and anticipate health risks.
France’s Covid stats
Health ministry data shows the number of people in hospital due to Covid is up 10% from last week with just over 17,000 beds taken by Covid patients. This is still far lower than the maximum recorded, which reached over 33,000 in both November 2020 and February of this year.
There are just over 1,000 people in ICU units with Covid, up 12% from last week.
On average, 51 people have died each day of Covid over the past seven days, up 25% from the week before. This figure is still far lower than during previous waves, when several hundreds of people were dying each day.
The number of people dying in hospital due to Covid in France each day. Credit: Covidtracker.fr
How do the stats compare to other European countries?
The UK government has switched to tracking weekly case rates of Covid, saying this move “reflects the move from an emergency pandemic response to managing COVID-19 in line with the Government's Living with COVID strategy.”
The UK was reporting an average of over two million Covid cases per week by the end of June. New updated weekly figures are set to be published today (July 6) at 16:00.
In England, there were an average of 116,312 cases per day between June 20 and June 26.
Dr Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, told the BBC on Sunday (July 3) that “it does not look as though the wave has finished yet”.
She said she is expecting hospital cases to rise.
The latest data from June 20 to 26 shows that 407 people died within 28 days of being diagnosed with Covid in England.
Germany / Italy / Spain Covid figures
The number of Covid cases being reported is increasing in many parts of Europe, including France’s neighbours Spain, Italy and Germany.
Germany reported 147,489 new cases on Monday (July 4) as well as 102 new Covid-linked deaths.
Italy reported 71,947 new cases on Sunday (July 3) and the country’s health minister, Roberto Speranza, has recommended wearing masks indoors despite a rule requiring this only being lifted at the start of June.
Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias has also recommended people wear face masks again in indoor public settings .