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'Supersonic' Rise of COVID-19 Cases in France in Coming Days

INTERNATIONAL: A "supersonic" rise in French COVID-19 cases is set to continue in the coming days and there are no signs of the trend reversing, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal has announced on Wednesday.

He also said that infections were reaching "stratospheric levels" in the Ile-de-France region around Paris and in some other parts of France, adding that the situation in hospitals could worsen in coming weeks.

On Tuesday, January 4, France has reported a record 271,686 new COVID-19 infections over 24 hours.

Attal has also added that the government had decreed a health state of emergency in the French regions of Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Mayotte, Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthelemy, where the infection rate is soaring.

At the end of December, a health state of emergency was decreed in La Reunion and was extended to Martinique, where it has been in place since mid-July.

The government spokesman also defended President Emmanuel Macron's use of a coarse insult in a stepped-up campaign against France's unvaccinated, after the phrase drew condemnation from the opposition and mixed reactions from voters.

"What the president has said seems to me much less strong than the anger of a large majority of French people in response to the choice that some make of opposing vaccination," Attal told reporters. "When you talk with French people today, many will tell you, 'The people who choose not to get vaccinated should not even be treated (for COVID).'"

Attal has said the French government had slightly eased COVID-19 travel restrictions regarding trips to the United Kingdom, widening the official list of valid reasons given for travel to the UK.

At present, the French government has said official reasons to justify a trip to the UK include urgent family matters or travelling back to a main residence in Britain.

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