Up to 10 pct of new French COVID-19 cases may be due to omicron: Health Minister

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Seven to 10 percent of new confirmed coronavirus cases in France are suspected to be of the omicron variant, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Saturday.

He said the rapid spread of the new variant was the main reason for the planned introduction of a new vaccination pass early next year, which will require that people show proof of vaccination to enter restaurants and long-distance public transport.

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Under the current health pass regulation, a recent negative COVID test is sufficient for entering public places.

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Health Minister Olivier Veran, speaking on France Inter radio, also said that he expected that early next week the French health authority will give the green light to start offering coronavirus vaccinations to children aged 5 to 11.

For now, only children with serious health conditions or additional health risks can be given the shots.

Veran said that he hoped that voluntary vaccination for all children could start on Dec. 22.

Read more: Science suggests omicron has displaced delta COVID-19 variant: South African expert

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