There were 30,454 new cases of Covid confirmed in France from Monday to Tuesday this week (November 22-23), figures show, a record not seen since the summer, as the fifth wave continues apace.
Health Minister Oliver Véran confirmed the number as he answered questions in the Assemblée nationale yesterday (November 23).
The 30,000+ level has not been reached in France since the summer, namely August 11, when 30,920 cases were recorded.
Mr Véran said: “This is a significant rise in infections, which shows that we are, alas, in a fifth epidemic wave.”
He reiterated the importance of vaccination, whether first, second, or third doses
He said: “Six million eligible people in France have not yet been vaccinated; that’s far too many. We must stop saying: ‘I’m waiting, we don’t have enough distance on it’. We do have distance and we know that it works.
“We have enough experience to say that you are 12 times more at risk of having a severe form of Covid when you are not vaccinated. It is therefore very urgent to get vaccinated and to have your booster when you are called to do so.”
Il y a des rendez-vous à ne pas manquer !— Olivier Véran (@olivierveran) October 13, 2021
Pour continuer d'être protégés face au Covid, que vous soyez âgés, fragiles ou professionnels de santé, faites rapidement votre dose de rappel. pic.twitter.com/eYfFgjZC8R
But while cases are still high, hospitalisations are much lower now than they were in August. As of today (November 24), there were 3,614 new hospitalisations over the past seven days, while in the week of August 11, there were 9,213.
Deaths have remained relatively stable. There were 332 deaths in the week of August 11, whereas last week (the last full week counted), there were 249.
Mr Véran’s comments come as the health cabinet, le Conseil de défense sanitaire – which includes President Macron – will take place at the Elysée palace today (November 24), to discuss possible imminent measures to combat the fifth wave in France.
Topics on the agenda are expected to include whether to open up booster vaccines to all, and whether to bring back mandatory masks in more public places.
So far, the government has said there are no new plans for another lockdown, but government spokesperson Gabriel Attal has admitted that he cannot rule anything out, depending on the evolution of the virus.
Late last week, he said that the virus was spreading “lightning-fast” across France, with cases having risen more than 81% in the week previous.