PARIS: France registered a record number of around 335,000 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, said health minister Olivier Veran, while the number of deaths also rose as the country battles against a fifth wave of the virus.
Veran outlined the figure during a session with the French parliament.
The number of COVID-19 deaths in hospitals rose by 246 to 97,670 in the last 24 hours. The total of COVID-19 patients in hospital intensive care units (ICUs) stood at 3,695 while there were over 20,000 COVID-19 patients in hospital in total, the highest number since late May.
France is backing on ramping up its COVID-19 vaccination program to avoid having to take any drastic new restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.
French President Emmanuel Macron had said earlier that he wanted to “piss off” unvaccinated people by making their lives so complicated they would end up getting jabbed. He was speaking in an interview with Le Parisien newspaper in which he also called unvaccinated people irresponsible and unworthy of being considered citizens.
Meanwhile in the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, dozens of anti-vaccination protesters attacked a hospital director and other medical staff following recent violent demonstrations against vaccines and COVID-19 restrictions, officials said Wednesday.
The attack occurred Tuesday outside the University Hospital Center as police tried to escort the director and other staff elsewhere for safety. The hospital said the director briefly lost consciousness and that the crowd ripped the clothes of the deputy general director and threw urine at both.
A health workers’ union that organized Tuesday’s demonstration told local media that members are seeking to recover lost wages after being suspended for refusing to become vaccinated as required by law.
Guadeloupe’s prefect, Alexandre Rochatte, condemned the attacks and said the government will prosecute those responsible.
The French government spokesman Gabriel Attal expressed support for the hospital director, saying Wednesday that what happened is “shameful. It’s revolting. It’s scandalous. And it’s inadmissible in the republic.”
The French government declared a “state of health emergency” for Guadeloupe and several other overseas territories Wednesday.