Omicron is now the dominant variant in France

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Omicron has become the main strain of coronavirus in France where the number of infections has increased in recent days, the country’s public health agency said.

“62.4% of tests showed a profile compatible with the Omicron variant” at the start of the week, up from 15% the week before, the agency said in its latest weekly survey released Thursday evening.

The progression of the Omicron variant was expected as it is highly contagious and has become dominant in other European countries including Great Britain and Portugal.

The strain contributed to the current surge in cases, which topped 200,000 during the 24-hour period from Wednesday to Thursday.

At the beginning of December, there were less than 50,000 daily cases. A month earlier, in early November, daily data crossed the 10,000 threshold for the first time since mid-September.

French hospitals are now taking care of 18,321 Covid-19 patients, including 1,922 new admissions between Wednesday and Thursday, with more than 3,500 people in intensive care.

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Amid the wave of infections, the government on Monday announced new restrictions on making people work from home and placed limits on the number of people attending public events. Schools should nevertheless reopen as planned on Monday after the holidays.

Wearing a face mask outdoors is compulsory in Paris from Friday for anyone over 11 years old.

The virus has killed 123,552 people in France since its detection in China at the end of 2019.

(AXADLETM with AFP, REUTERS)

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