France’s hospital system is under heavy pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic

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France’s hospital system is under heavy pressure from the pandemic, with the number of people treated in intensive care units for COVID-19 at the highest in almost a year, even though the country has just entered its third lockdown.

The health ministry reported on Tuesday that the number of people in ICUs with COVID-19 had increased by 193 over 24 hours to 5,626, a peak since April 20 2020, when France was in its first March-May 2020 lockdown.

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And that figure is also rising further above the 4,919 high reached during country’s second lockdown from Oct. 30 to Dec. 15.

The total number of people hospitalized for the disease rose by 732 over 24 hours, the sharpest daily increase for more than four months, to 30,639, breaching the 30,000 limit for the first time since Nov. 24 and closing in on the Nov. 16 record of 33,497.

France is hoping a ramp up of its vaccination campaign, combined with the one-month lockdown in place since last week-end, will help it regain control over the latest outbreak, fuelled by variants of the novel coronavirus.

Earlier on Tuesday, the country started administering shots of the COVID-19 vaccine inside the Stade de France, the national stadium that once hosted soccer’s World Cup final.

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