Véran told a parliamentary hearing that 208,000 positive cases had been recorded, up from 179,807 cases recoreded by Santé Publique France on Tuesday, December 28th.
Véran had warned at a press conference on Monday that: “Everything suggests that we could reach more than 250,000 cases per day by the beginning of January.”
Reporting of data can be patchy over public holiday periods but the seven-day average for new daily cases – considered the most reliable measure – now stands at 87,500, a 61 percent week-on-week increase.
The holiday period has also seen a big increase in testing, with the government advising anyone who is planning to travel or get together with friends and relatives to take a test first.
On Tuesday, 17,405 patients were in hospital with the virus, compared to 16,921 the previous day and 16,076 last week. Of those, 3,416 were in intensive care on Tuesday, up from 3,333 on Monday and 3,096 on December 21st.
A total 242 deaths from Covid-19 were reported on Tuesday. The virus’s toll in France is now 123,188.
The surge in cases comes as demand for testing soars over the festive period.
The rise in demand has prompted authorities to allow supermarkets to sell Covid-19 self-test kits until the end of January 2022 – normally pharmacies hold a strict monopoly on the sale of medical products.
A decree, published in the Journal Officiel, states: “Within the context of the significant rise in the incidence rate, due to the spread of the Delta and Omicron variants, and unprecedented rise in demand for tests, there is good reason to diversify supply chains and sales of self-tests.”
According to the Union des syndicats de pharmaciens d’officine, nearly six out of 10 pharmacies are reporting stocking issues for self-tests. A spokesman told the Journal du Dimanche that pharmacies had sold as many self-tests since December 15th as they had in the previous five months.
Supermarket chains are expected to offer the tests at ‘cost price’, about half the price of pharmacies, where costs are capped at €6 per test.
Meanwhile, nearly 700,000 people received an injection of the Covid-19 vaccine on Tuesday 46,589 first injections, and 613,757 booster doses. In total, 51,676,653 people have had two doses of Covid-19 (76.6% of the total population) since the beginning of the vaccination campaign in France.
A total 23,059,934 people have received a booster dose.