French Prime Minister Jean Castex told parliament on Tuesday that France had entered a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the seven-day average of new cases rose above 25,000 for the first time since November 20.
French health authorities reported 29,975 new cases on Tuesday, a 4.5% jump from last Tuesday’s total and the sharpest week in a month and a half.
France is struggling with a steady increase in new cases, leading to a heavy strain on the country’s hospital system, which prominent health experts say can only be saved through a new lock.
Like other EU countries, France has lagged far behind the United States or the United Kingdom in vaccinating its population.
President Emmanuel Macron still hopes that a vaccination can avert the effects of a new pandemic trigger triggered by more contagious variants, thus preventing France from resorting to a third national lock-in.
However, the suspension of the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which was announced on Monday due to safety concerns, could jeopardize the government’s strategy.
The Ministry of Health said that there were 4,239 patients in intensive care units for COVID-19, up from 20 over 24 hours and set up a nearly four-month high. The total number of people in hospital for the disease increased by 23, at 25,492, which was high since February 24.
The number of people who have died increased by 408 to 91,170, the world’s seventh highest number of deaths. The seven-day moving average of deaths is 267.
With 4.11 million people infected since the outbreak, France has the sixth highest number in the world.