France sets new daily Covid case record with over 270,000 infections

France set a new record on Tuesday for the number of daily Covid infections as lawmakers debated the planned new vaccine pass.

French Health Minister Olivier Veran addresses the French National Assembly.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran addresses the French National Assembly. France may be about to break another Covid record. (Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP)

French Health Minister Olivier Véran had already warned that the country was about to break another Covid-19 case record on Tuesday by suggesting the country could report nearly 300,000 new infections within a 24-hour period.

In the end some 271, 686 cases were reported by health authorities. 

France broke its record for the most number of new Covid cases recorded in 24 hours last week, registering 232,200 infections on Friday. This figure was mostly driven by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant but also by increased testing in the run up to New Year’s Eve. 

Veran also reported that 64 children were in hospital in France with severe forms of Covid-19 – the highest number since the star of the pandemic.

The centrist party of French President Emmanuel Macron had been left red-faced after opposition parties joined forces to hold up a bill tightening measures against Covid-19.

Prime Minister Jean Castex condemned opposition MPs, telling them: “the virus is galloping and you are pulling the hand break”. 

The National Assembly was debating the implementation of a vaccine pass that will require a full course of vaccination to attend events, eat out or travel by inter-city train, rather than a recent negative test or proof of recovery.

READ MORE What will change when France’s health pass becomes a vaccine pass?

But when the government asked the chamber late Monday to continue debating the legislation after midnight, to ensure it could be adopted by the end of the week, the right-wing Republicans (LR) teamed up with the far-right and far-left to stop the debate.

In an embarrassment for Macron’s Republic on the Move (LREM) party that controls parliament, not enough of its lawmakers were still present in the chamber when the vote by a show of hands was taken on continuing the debate.

French media said the surprise move by the LR — which has backed the main thrust of the legislation — pointed to rising political tensions ahead of April 2022 presidential elections, which Macron appears the favourite, but is not certain, to win.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal lashed out at a “procedural coup” by opposition lawmakers, saying they wanted to “derail the calendar” for the vaccine pass for purely political reasons.

“We will do everything to stick to the calendar as has been set out,” he told France Inter radio. The government wants the new legislation to be implemented from January 15.

The debate was due to resume late Tuesday, parliamentary sources said, with 500 amendments filed by the opposition to be discussed and lawmakers facing another late night.

Member comments

  1. Wow, 300,000 that’s shocking! I’ve been indoors with a broken knee for the last two months but when I went to the Casino supermarket yesterday in the south of France I couldn’t believe how many people weren’t wearing masks or weren’t wearing them properly. It made me kind of angry!!! lol

    1. In the UK, after going though all the hoops to get in, the signs outside Sainsburys etc., INVITE you to wear one if you feel like it.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


French military bans Russians from chateau over Ukraine war

The French military has banned Russian nationals from visiting the Chateau de Vincennes, a medieval fortress, tourist attraction and military site on the edge of Paris, due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, officials told AFP.

French military bans Russians from chateau over Ukraine war

Once the residence of French kings and among Europe’s best-preserved monuments of its kind, the castle is for the most part open to the public, including for tours, concerts, theatre plays and other events.

But although best-known as a tourist attraction it is also technically a military site, housing part of the French armed forces’ historical archives, to which access is restricted.

The mounted Garde republicaine – a division of the French military – are also partially based at the chateaux.

It is therefore covered by a French ban on Russian nationals entering army territory that was issued after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Each year some 150,000 people visit the chateau, paying €9.50 per adult admission.

But on July 28th, two Russian women were refused access.

“A guard at the metal detector asked to see my passport,” said one of the women, 31, who works as a journalist and has been in France for five months, having left Russia “because of the war”.

On inspecting the document, the guard informed her she couldn’t pass, the woman, who asked not to be named, told AFP.

Another guard also denied her entry and gave as the reason “because you are Russian”, she said, adding she couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

Contacted by AFP, the defence ministry confirmed late Monday that it had, indeed, “restricted access to military installations to Russian nationals” because of the invasion.

But after media coverage and social media comment, the ministry contacted AFP on Tuesday to say that the guards had in fact “indiscriminately applied a rule established in February concerning all military installations”.

“This rule cannot be applied in the same way for strategic sites and for sites accessible to the public, such as museums,” a spokesman said.

The ministry said security staff would now be informed of the distinction “to avoid any further incidents of this kind”.

Russian journalists could, however, apply for an exemption, a ministry official added.

The majority of France’s most popular tourist sites have no military function and would not be affected by the ban. 

Since Moscow sent troops into Ukraine in February, France has taken in some 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, government figures show.

About 73,500 Russian immigrants lived in France in 2021, according to the national statistics office Insee.

There has been debate within the European Union about whether further limits should be placed on Russians visiting the bloc for tourism or personal reasons.

Russia’s neighbour Finland last week issued a plan to limit tourist visas  for Russians but also emphasised the need for an EU-level decision on the matter.