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'New Covid wave in France may accelerate in coming weeks'

Paris, Nov 18 (IANS) The new fifth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, which started in the country last month, will accelerate in the coming weeks, a top official has warned.

Jean-Francois Delfraissy, head of the scientific council that advises the government on Covid-19, made the remarks while speaking to the France Inter radio on Wednesday, reports Xinhua news agency.

"With the level of vaccination that we have, we are equipped with the capacity to face this fifth wave, under the condition of using all the tools in the toolbox," he said, referring to the vaccination of the non-vaccinated, the booster shot, the barrier gestures and the application of health pass.

The immunologist estimated that the fifth wave would be "difficult" for the French health system since "the hospitalisations will rise, up to ... 1,200 or even 1,400 new admissions per day, probably at the beginning of December".

Delfraissy also defended the efficiency of Covid-19 vaccines.

"It is extraordinary to have got them so fast. They protect in a very strong way against serious illness from the coronavirus."

France has approved the use of vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca.

On Tuesday, the French Public Health Agency reported 19,778 new Covid-19 cases, a record high since August 25 when the country registered 23,706 infections.

As of Thursday morning, France has reported a total of 7,433,545 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 119,281 deaths.