According to Health Minister Olivier Veran, France is experiencing a “tsunami” of COVID-19 infections, with 208,000 cases registered in the last 24 hours, a new national and European record.
According to statistics on Covidtracker.fr, France has been breaking infection records on a daily basis over the previous several days, with Tuesday’s 180,000 cases already setting a European record.
“This implies that every second in our nation, two French individuals are diagnosed positive 24 hours a day, day and night,” Veran explained. “We’ve never seen anything like this,” he added, characterizing the rise in instances as “dizzying.”
Global COVID-19 infections have hit record highs over the past seven days, Reuters data showed on Wednesday, as the new Omicron variant spread rapidly, keeping many workers at home and overwhelming testing centers.
The situation in French hospitals was already worrying because of the Delta variant, Veran said, with Omicron yet to have an impact, something he said would eventually happen.
“We have two enemies,” he said, referring to the two main variants. “As for Omicron, I would no longer talk about a wave. This is a groundswell, where several waves combine to form one massive wave,” he said.
The flu will further complicate things for hospitals, he added.
“I’m not ill, I just have a dry throat,” said Veran, who repeatedly coughed during the hearing, triggering nervous laughter from those sitting next to him.
While the government has ruled out a curfew in mainland France, on the Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, where the number of cases is particularly high, a curfew will be imposed from 9pm to 5am from Jan. 1 to Jan. 23.