France has entered the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is stronger and faster in its impact due to the dominance of the Delta variant of the virus, government authorities announced Monday.
Addressing a press conference at the end of a meeting of the Council of Ministers, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said the country has registered a sudden and strong rise in the incidence rate, or cases per week per 100,000 inhabitants, "by nearly 125% in one week," which was not noticed since the beginning of the pandemic.
A large part of these new cases constitute the highly contagious Delta variant that "contaminates at lightning speed," accounting for 80% of infections, he added.
“We have entered a fourth wave of the virus...The dynamics of the pandemic are extremely strong. We are seeing a wave faster, a steeper slope than all the previous ones."
For the last several days, the tally of daily infections crossed the mark of 10,000 cases. On Monday, the figure was at 4,151 cases and 20 deaths.
Attal recalled that the government was taking all measures to ensure that this new wave is “not more devastating," and one of the definite ways to limit the active circulation of the virus and prevent it from further mutating into a new kind of variant was vaccination.
"Vaccination drastically limits the number of serious forms," he said, stressing that the current figures of the overall vaccination campaign in France were not sufficient.
Over a 100,000 anti-vaxxers took to the streets last week to oppose the Macron government’s proposed plan to make vaccination compulsory for health care workers and impose restrictions for entry in public places, cafes, restaurants, shopping centers and long-distance public transport for those who are unvaccinated. From this Wednesday, the first phase of the health pass -- digital evidence to show vaccination or a negative PCR/antigen test -- comes into force.
Non-compliance with health pass rules will invite hefty penalties ranging from 1,500 euros ($1,770) the first time to 45,000 euros ($53,102) for repeat offenders along with a year’s imprisonment.
French anti-vaxxers have labeled the move a “health dictatorship” at a time when several countries in the world are awaiting access to vaccines against COVID-19.
Attal said the government was not going to be deterred nor “give in to the dictatorship of shocking images, outrageous slogans, [and] shameful shortcuts" to roll back the health pass initiative.
Prime Minister Jean Castex echoed similar sentiments in a tweet, offering full support to the elected representatives who are subjected to “threats and intimidation.”
“These acts are an insult to our democratic pact: their authors will have to answer for them before the justice of the republic,” he said.
Image Credit: © AA
The most interesting news
Green Hotel investments to restart tourism
Destination Capital (DC) has signed a collaborative arrangement with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) of the United Nations to support the rejuvenation of the hotel industry.
Saudi Arabia to allow visits by fully vaccinated tourists as of August
Tourism Ministry says Kingdom will lift suspension of entry for tourist visa holders after COVID closure.
Cambodia locks down Thailand border areas over Delta variant fears
14-day lockdown in border provinces, nationwide night curfew to start Thursday midnight.
France denounces UK quarantine rules as ‘discriminatory’
UK’s decision to keep quarantine measures for travelers from France is ‘incomprehensible’, says French official.
It is a story of a town; from an exile place to jet-set resort
There are places where tourism is done right.
4Y134 Airborne: Eurowings Discover inaugural flight takes off
Eurowings Discover inaugural flight departed Frankfurt this evening, heading to Mombasa with onward flight to Zanzibar.
Qatar Airways Engages with IATA on Environmental Sustainability Training
Qatar Airways has selected the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Environmental Sustainability in Aviation Program offered in partnership between the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the University of Geneva.
Spain’s 5th COVID-19 wave takes toll on hospitals and tourism
US advised even vaccinated people to avoid travel to Spain due to its high rate of contagion.
EU nations mull over boosted restrictions as COVID-19 cases spike
Despite intensive vaccination, Delta variant poses serious challenges to EU countries.
South Africa further eases COVID lockdown
Country has administered more than 6.3M vaccines, with over 10% of population receiving a vaccine dose.
Bedsonline launches native language customer service support in key markets across Europe
Bedsonline, the leading global provider of online accommodation and ancillary products exclusively for travel agents, has today launched a series of significant customer service improvements in key markets across Europe, including the provision of 24
Tourism picks up in Kenya amid COVID-19
Germany’s flag carrier Lufthansa starts direct flights to Kenya’s coastal town of Mombasa.
Emirates helps last-minute planners take advantage of summer travel
Airline flying close to 40 popular quarantine-free destinations.
8,000-year-old mound in SE Turkey added to UNESCO World Heritage List
With addition of Arslantepe in Malatya, the number of sites from Turkey in UNESCO’s list grows to 19.
IATA: ‘European Commission Slots Decision Out of Touch with Reality’
The Decision Damages Sustainability and Industry Recovery.
'Hagia Sophia and Chora mosques are property of Turkey'
Turkey meticulously protecting monuments in metropolis Istanbul, says Turkish Foreign Ministry.
White House: International travel restrictions to remain in place
Rising Delta variant cases keeping White House wary.
Vaccinated EU and US travelers set to skip England quarantine
Loosening of international travel restrictions will allow millions to enter UK, say officials.
TUI extends 4.7 billion euros credit lines with banks until summer 2024
TUI, 19 international banks and KfW successfully agree to extend the maturity of revolving credit facilities (RCF) totaling 4.7 billion euros until summer 2024.
Kayseri added to UNESCO Creative Cities Network
Central Turkish province with its rich cuisine entered network in field of gastronomy, says local official.