Omicron turns Europe into world's biggest Covid hotspot with France topping daily infections table
Europe has again become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, accounting for a third of cases worldwide as it battles a surge in Omicron infections.
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The region, which spans 52 countries and territories from the Atlantic coast to Azerbaijan and Russia, has surpassed 100 million cases since the virus outbreak began nearly two years ago.
Nearly 5 million infections were confirmed during a seven-day period over the New Year holidays, French news agency AFP reported.
More than one million of those were in France.
Sixty-five per cent of Europeans are partially vaccinated, while 61 percent are fully vaccinated, the Our World in Data website showed.
While infection numbers are rising sharply, Covid-related deaths are also decreasing in Europe.
Most countries are managing the outbreak with a measured approach that involves tightening quarantine rules while keeping schools open.
France worst hit
After weeks of record-breaking figures, France now has Europe’s highest number of confirmed daily cases, with more than 20,000 people in hospital.
Covid patients – most of whom are not vaccinated – are now taking up some 72 percent of intensive care beds, putting France's healthcare system under renewed strain.
Meanwhile, the French government is having problems pushing its vaccine pass bill through parliament, with President Emmanuel Macron bluntly announcing that his Covid strategy was to “piss off” unvaccinated people.
About 77 percent of the French population has had at least two vaccine shots.
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