France says Omicron to be dominant variant soon, resists new restrictions

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Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Wednesday that France could soon see 100,000 new COVID-19 cases a day, due to the rapid spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Veran said despite all, the government does not plan to introduce new restrictions for the time being as the country expected 22-23 million booster doses that would have been administered by Christmas.However, President Emmanuel Macron was counting on an accelerated vaccine booster programme to keep the virus in check.

“The objective is not to reduce the speed of the virus’ spread because the variant is too contagious. The objective is to limit the risk of serious cases overwhelming hospitals. This is why we are moving fast on booster shots.”

France is reporting about 70,000 coronavirus infections a day as it battles a fifth wave of the epidemic. Veran said the Omicron variant would be the dominant strain of the virus in France by early January.France had for months, required a health pass for people to enter bars, restaurants, museums and other entertainment venues. In recent days it has closed night clubs and cancelled New Year’s Eve firework displays.

However, Veran said there were no plans at this stage for further restrictions or an extension of school holidays, though he cautioned nothing could be ruled out.France registered 210 COVID-19 deaths in hospitals on Tuesday, taking the country’s total death toll to 94,913.

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