France fears 'rapid' COVID-19 fourth wave as Delta variant doubles in one week

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By Euronews
FILE: People walk at the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, Thursday, June 17, 2021.
FILE: People walk at the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris, Thursday, June 17, 2021.   -  Copyright  Michel Euler/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

The French government warned on Wednesday that the country may soon face a fourth wave of COVID-19 as the more contagious Delta variant is fast spreading in the country.

"The risk of a rapid fourth wave is here," said government spokesman Gabriel Attal at a regularly scheduled press briefing.

The Delta variant, which was first detected in India, now accounts for 40% of new infections, up from 20% last week, the French official said.

He noted that the incidence rate increased by 21% nationwide, even reaching a concerning 91% in Paris.

In total, 11 French regions have seen their incidence rates increase over the past week, Attal said.

In this context, Attal urged the French population to engage in "mass vaccination," noting that the number of appointments for first doses had increased again after slowing down in recent weeks.

The government is working on "all scenarios," the government spokesman said, adding that a health defence council would be held on Monday to address the situation.

France has been one of the hardest-hit countries in Europe, with over 111,000 lives lost to the pandemic.

After months of curfews and partial lockdowns, most restrictions have now been lifted in the country, with nightclubs due to reopen on Friday.

An estimated 64% of France's adult population has received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose, and 46% is fully vaccinated, according to government data.