France posted 501,635 new cases of coronavirus for the past 24 hours on Tuesday, a new daily record and the first time the headline number has surpassed half a million.
The country is currently recording the highest daily infection rates of any major European nation, with an average of more than 360,000 over the past week.
More than 30,000 people are in hospital with coronavirus across France in the highest such tally since November 2020, official figures showed.
But only a little more than 3,700 were in intensive care, less than during previous periods of high infection.
On Tuesday morning, the French Education Minister told BFMTV that 4 percent of French classrooms were closed due to Covid-19.
The highly contagious Omicron variant that is fuelling the latest wave is believed to be less dangerous than the previous dominant strain Delta. One in ten French people have tested positive for Covid since the beginning of 2022.
1 Français sur 10 a été testé positif depuis le 1er janvier pic.twitter.com/AZJSksRSPH
— GRZ (@GuillaumeRozier) January 25, 2022
Some 364 people died of the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths from Covid in France to 129,489.
The latest figures came after new Covid rules came into force in France on Monday, with the health pass transformed into a vaccine pass.
People are now required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter bars, restaurants, trains and planes.
A negative coronavirus test will no longer be enough to access leisure activities, some work events and long-distance travel.
More than 77 percent of France’s population has received two shots of an anti-Covid vaccine.
How France emerges from the current wave is seen as crucial in April presidential elections, in which President Emmanuel Macron is widely expected to run although he has yet to declare his candidacy.
Despite the high caseload, Prime Minister Jean Castex last week announced a timetable for lifting Covid restrictions in France from February 2.