By Shweta Desai
PARIS (AA) - France posted a new record for daily coronavirus cases Tuesday, registering nearly 180,000 infections in the past 24 hours.
According to data released by the country’s public health agency, 179,807 cases and 290 fatalities were recorded. The previous high was registered on Dec. 25 at 104,611 infections.
The cases have surpassed figures in Britain, which recorded 129,471 new infections as of Tuesday and reported more than 100,000 cases for the first time on Dec. 22 due to the highly contagious omicron variant and widespread testing.
While the average number of daily cases in the last week has been above 80,000, hospital admissions have comparatively been on the lower side. But authorities are fearing the pressure on hospitals and an economic paralysis in the coming weeks with daily cases projected to reach 250,000 in January.
To prevent the country from embarking on yet another round of lockdowns, the government has announced new measures involving working from home, restrictions on large gatherings, and accelerating the vaccine campaign for the third booster shot.
It has also proposed converting the health pass to a vaccine pass and prohibiting entry to unvaccinated people in public places from Jan. 15. The draft bill will soon be submitted in the two houses of parliament for approval.
An estimated 5.3 million people aged 12 and over have not yet received any vaccine doses.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced a monthly bonus of 100 euros (US$113) for nurses working in critical care services in recognition of their continuous tireless work. Nurses have been identified among the most overworked health care personnel during the pandemic.