French Health Minister Olivier Veran has said that new Covid-19 infections were increasing at an unprecedented rate due to the Delta variant, after 18,000 cases were reported for the previous 24 hours.
In an adress to members of parliament, Veran said that he was "alarmed" by this worrying increase attributed to the Delta variant, responsible for just under 79 percent of the new cases. Just a week ago figures remained below 7,000 cases, resulting in an increase of some 150 percent in one week.
"We have never seen this, neither with the (original) Covid, nor with the English strain nor the South African or Brazilian variants," he said.
In total, 37,52 million people in France have received at least one vaccination, bringing the country's coverage to 45,2%.
And while the number of Covid-19 patients requiring intensive care has been gradually declining (IC occupancy rates went down from 21,8 percent on July 6 to 18 percent on July 19) specialists fear that the trend may be reversed.
Under a bill to be put a vote in the coming days, people who want to eat in restaurants, go to the cinema or take a long-distance train will have to be vaccinated or produce a negative Covid test.
From September on, vaccinations will become mandatory for healthcare and retirement home workers. Macron's announcement of the measures this month sparked a scramble for vaccine shots in a country that was one of the most vaccine-shy in the world at the start of the pandemic.