France reports 22,857 new COVID-19 cases, 417 deaths

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 3, 2021
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People enjoy the sunshine in front of the Sacre Coeur Basilica atop the Montmartre in Paris, France, Feb. 24, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

French health authorities on Tuesday reported 22,857 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, sharply up from Monday's 4,703 and higher than the 20,064 daily cases registered a week ago.

The cumulative number of patients who have caught the respiratory illness rose to 3,783,528, the sixth-highest tally in the world. Coronavirus-linked fatalities were at 87,220 after 417 died within one day, including 117 in retirement homes.

A total of 25,263 people with COVID-19 were hospitalized, down by 167 from Monday's figure, while 3,586 needed life support, up by 42.

Faced with the spread of more contagious variants of COVID-19, the pressure in hospitals remained "very strong" and four to six tough weeks are still ahead, said Gabriel Attal, the government spokesman.

Attal, meanwhile, expected an improvement in the epidemic situation thanks to the vaccination campaign, which according to him "will gradually help protect the most vulnerable people, ease the pressure on hospitals and allow to relax a certain number of restrictions."

"We see light at the end of the tunnel...But in the meantime the important thing is to continue to hold out," he said.

As of March 1, France had administered 3,036,605 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca, data from the Public Health Agency showed.

In a move to step up vaccine rollout, France allowed people younger than 75 and with comorbidities to get the AstraZeneca shot, which initially targeted those under 65. This gives vaccine access to an extra 2.5 million people, or a third of inhabitants aged between 65 and 75 years old, according to Health Minister Olivier Veran on Monday.

"We have three vaccines that have proved their effectiveness, and we will continue to protect French citizens, starting with the most vulnerable. By the end of March, we expect an additional 6 million people will receive a first dose," he said.

As the world is struggling to contain the pandemic, vaccination is underway in an increasing number of countries with the already-authorized coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, 258 candidate vaccines are still being developed worldwide -- 76 of them in clinical trials -- in countries including Germany, China, Russia, Britain, and the United States, according to information released by the World Health Organization on Tuesday.

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