PARIS: The highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 will probably account for most of the new coronavirus cases in France from this weekend, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Friday.
The Delta variant now represents nearly 50% of new COVID-19 infections, Veran told France Inter radio station.
The Delta variant could ruin the summer if a fourth wave of infections is allowed to build, government spokesman Gabriel Attal had said earlier this week.
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Attal said forging ahead with vaccinations was the best way to avoid a return to tough curbs on movement and socialising. He urged any hesitant citizens to get the shot.
“This variant is dangerous and quick and wherever it is present, it can ruin the summer,” Attal told a news conference.
Attal said infection rates were surging higher in 11 metropolitan regions, and the situation was deteriorating rapidly in the Ile-de-France region around Paris, with infection rates in the capital nearly doubling over the past week.
“We are getting more and more warning signals and we could see the same trajectory as in some neighbouring countries,” he said.
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Cases in Britain are soaring, while in Spain and Portugal the accelerating infection rate has already forced authorities to impose new restrictions.
Senior ministers will meet on Monday to discuss the threat of a fourth wave and Attal said the government was considering all possible scenarios, include possible compulsory vaccination for health workers.