France reports over 200,000 COVID-19 cases as presidential elections approach


France reported on Tuesday 203,021 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, as the country prepares for the presidential elections on Sunday.

According to the French public health agency, 23,010 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized, with 1,552 in intensive care. The agency also reported on Tuesday 140 additional COVID-19-related deaths in hospitals.

The application CovidTracker reported an increase in infections of 18.2 percent in one week, with an average of 139,967 new daily cases reported between March 25 and 31.

The application also reported an 8 percent increase in the number of hospitalizations between March 25 and 31, with an increase of 3.6 percent in intensive care admissions. Meanwhile, the number of daily deaths increased by 5.8 percent.

According to the public health agency, 80.9 percent of the French population has received at least one vaccine dose, and 79.5 percent has been fully vaccinated.

France has lifted all COVID-19 restrictions. However, Morgane Bomsel, research director of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), told French daily news BFMTV that “the pandemic is not over.”

In the run-up to the presidential elections, the French Interior Ministry last week laid out health protocol for polling stations.

The vaccine pass or a negative COVID-19 test result will not be required to enter. However, while the wearing of masks and social distancing will not be mandatory, masks are recommended for the elderly, vulnerable, and those who have tested positive for COVID.