France's health minister warned that the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care could reach levels seen during the first wave of the crisis a year ago.
Olivier Véran told French network TF1 that hospitals have already surpassed the number of patients admitted to intensive care during the second virus surge in November.
"The person that will develop a serious form of COVID will develop it after 10 or 15 days. If we reach the contaminations peak this week - that means that in two, three weeks from now we will have the peak of patients in intensive care units (ICU)," Véran explained.
"It will be a high number because we are already at more than 5,000 persons in ICU."
According to Public Health France, there are 5,433 patients currently in intensive care. At the peak of the second wave in November, there were under 5,000 patients in intensive care.
French authorities are meanwhile hoping to boost the country's vaccination campaign by opening new super vaccination hubs, one of them being at the Stade de France.
The national sports stadium is located in a Paris suburb that is one of the worst affected parts of the country.
So far, 9.3 million people in the country have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine, amounting to around 14% of the population.
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