France posts new daily Covid case record

Country is recording highest daily infection rates of any major European nation

A woman walks near the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris on January 21. Reuters

France posted 501,635 new cases of coronavirus over the past 24 hours on Tuesday, a new daily record and the first time it has passed half a million.

The country is 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, the most since November 2020, official figures show.

But only a little more than 3,700 were in intensive care, less than during previous periods of high infection.

The highly contagious Omicron variant that is fuelling the latest wave is believed to be less dangerous than the previous dominant strain, Delta.

About 364 people died of the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths from Covid-19 in France to 129,489.

The latest figures were revealed after new Covid rules came into force in France on Monday.

People are now required to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to enter bars, restaurants, trains and planes.

A negative coronavirus test result will no longer be enough to gain entry to leisure activities, some work events and long-distance travel.

More than 77 per cent of France's population have received two shots of an anti-Covid vaccine.

How France emerges from the current wave is regarded as crucial for 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-19 restrictions in France from February 2.

Updated: January 25, 2022, 11:35 PM